Our “Thoughts & Prayers” offering makes its triumphant return – and it’s going to live over here on SpartansWire rather than CollegeFootballNews. From time to time, we’ll share it with the CFN folks – but the 2018 premier edition is just for you, SpartansWire folks.
There are at least seven or eight people out there who are aware of the fact that the weekly “Thoughts & Prayers” offering during college football season has become as much a part of the college football zeitgeist as Charlie Weis’s fupa once was.
Fear not, loyal readers of “Thoughts & Prayers” – the weekly college football column is alive and well and makes its triumphant return to your computer machine right now and will appear on your computer machine between now and whenever I get tired of writing it towards the end of the season.
It’s August 10th.
Fall camp hasn’t just started – it’s in full swing.
And playoff baseball (what has become, to the frustration and dismay of all bitter White Sox fans, to be known as “the annual part of the year when the Cubs try to win another World Series”) is almost two months away.
Time to get serious about the college football world once again.
WAKING UP THE ECHOES OF THE GUY THEY CHOSE AS THEIR LEADER
Since we alluded to Charlie Weis’s fupa at the top, let’s take a moment to check in on Charlie.
I lost track of Coach Weis and a “Thoughts & Prayers” column wouldn’t be complete without references to the man with the brilliant football mind and admirable bedside manner.
So, I called up the one Notre Dame fan I know that I respect to find out what Weis is up to these days.
“Hey, Isaac – do you know what your former lead man, Charlie Weis, is up to these….”
At that point, Isaac hung up the phone on me.
So I pressed some of the computer machine google buttons and couldn’t find out how and for whom Weis is providing his decided schematic advantage philosophies.
I did, however, find a quote of Coach Weis’s that sounds Weisian.
Here’s Coach Weis on an important radio show of some sort from this past January weighing in on the Josh McDaniels/New England Patriots/Indianapolis Colts soap opera –
“In 31 cities, I’d say the odds of them hiring him (as head coach) would be slim to none,” Weis continued. “But in one city, he’s endeared himself. Let me be the first to lay a wager in Las Vegas that when Belichick leaves, Josh McDaniels is the next head coach in New England. It’s like Secretariat running right now. I’d say the odds of that happening are almost a hundred percent.”
Coach Weis still has his New Jersey charm, wit, and smarts.
As Brian Kelly continues to look for his pants and his wallet and his watch and his pocket handkerchief and his dignity that never turned up after he was Dantonioed on the night of “Little Giants,” Notre Dame appears to have a shot at a nice season this Fall.
The Irish might win a few of their ACC rivalry games – and they get Syracuse in South Bend.
Final note on Coach Weis before we move on to the rest of the pressing issues of the day –
Has anyone ever identified the specific persons at Notre Dame who said, after meeting in person with Charlie Weis about the head coaching vacancy for which Coach Weis was interviewing at the time, “Yes – that man is impressive. He’s our guy. We should hire him immediately and then when he wins a few games we should give him a ten year contract extension that guarantees that Notre Dame will pay him $73 million a year for the duration of the contract no matter what.”
PUT SOME HAIR ON THE DAWG
I sat in the Mercedes Benz arena this past January as Alabama and Georgia provided us all with a title bout for the ages.
That was a game and an entire experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
When Bama put Tua down in OT, it all looked inevitable – the Dawgs were about to finally be able to talk about something other than Herschel Walker.
Or how Jim Donnan really liked grits.
And then the roof fell in.
Tua’s pass was about as magnificent of a pass I’d seen since a pass he made midway through the 4th quarter.
As I walked out of the arena, I saw grown men with their face paint all smeared due to the crocodile tears and beer having smudged the face paint and cute Dawg-paw face stickers.
I felt for those people.
All of us, in one way or another, have been in that spot.
Granted, most of us haven’t ever cried like a slobbering five year old girl in public with our wife and kids standing with us – but, we’ve had disappointments.
The question is – have the Georgia fans recovered?
Kirby Smart is dynamite and will have that machine cranking for a long time.
But a very good pal of mine who is a lifelong Dawgs fan said to me (and he was serious), “That was the chance. It was all lined up perfectly. They didn’t get it done. I don’t think anything will ever line up like that and even if it does, it won’t be the same. That moment will never come back.”
That sounds like a guy in a drunken stupor insisting that the gal he just had a really wonderful 25 minute long conversation at the bar with was IT and since she left and he never even got her name or number or any vitals, his life will never be fulfilled and even if he finds a woman who winds up being a great wife and mother to their beautiful kids, the woman who left him at that bar that one night made sure that the rest of his life will be spent mumbling to himself.
Can Georgia get over the hangover?
Hangovers are really, really awful.
If anyone knows anyone that likes being hungover, please just go ahead and shoot that person.
(**The previous sentence is not an advocation for violence, nor is it a commentary on the Second Amendment. It is meant to be a way to point out that “hangovers” are not good and there really can’t be any persons who enjoy being hungover.)
Come on, Dawgs – time to get back up off the mat and forget about it.
You’ll be back.
And winning the National Championship outside of the great state of Georgia will still count.
SELF-HELP PROGRAMS WORK
Ohio State is an interesting place.
I’ve alluded to this before but I’ll remind everyone since it’s a worthwhile reminder –
UMAA had a longtime radio play-by-play announcer who, to some, is sort of a folk hero type of guy – his name was Bob Ufer.
Bob Ufer was an idiot.
But that’s not relevant for right now.
Every other Fall, at the opening of the radio broadcast of that season’s annual match up between UMAA and Ohio State, Ufer said this, exactly, “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to Columbus, Ohio for the annual clash between Meeechigan and Ohio State where there are ten thousand fans in Maize and Blue and eighty thousand truck drivers.”
I don’t think Ufer meant any disrespect to truck drivers, by the way.
The Ohio State folks are faced with a bit of an actual and an existential crisis.
According to my reliable sources (to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of the subject matter), Ryan Day has not been able to speak since being named interim head coach.
I’m not saying that he’s being closed off from the media – I mean that he is, literally, unable to speak.
He’s also lost control of his bowels, according to my anonymous sources.
Also according to my sources, the Buckeyes have spent this initial stage of Fall camp playing Fortnite and getting more tattoos.
And as Urban Meyer gets his ducks in a row before demonstrating to the Buckeye Nation and America that he’s recognized his wrongs, he’s already hard at work rehabilitating his relationship with the truth, and he’s been humbled by all of this, here are the things Urban has done/is doing:
- He’s quit chewing gum because chewing gum doesn’t set a good example for the children – children must be disciplined in their approach to oral hygiene and Meyer is committed to helping the children.
- Meyer has spent a week with Tony Robbins and he now has a deeper understanding of how to find the best version of himself by starting each day with a two-hour solo yoga session on his back patio with new age instrumental music playing softly.
- Meyer has signed up as an altar server at his Catholic parish in Columbus and will be serving every 9:30a Sunday Mass between now and August 19th.
- Meyer has opened up a soup kitchen in Columbus where he will have meals, blankets, winter clothing, and all of his inspirational books on how to live a great life, how to be the best person you can be, and how to find your inner relationship with God that he’s authored on sale for the retail price that the books were being sold at when each of them was first published.
- Meyer has eliminated all junk food from his daily diet.
- Meyer has joined Ohio State athletic director in becoming this year’s Columbus Police Department’s co-emcees for the 74th annual Columbus Police Department Fundraising Spaghetti Dinner. And the Columbus Police Department has announced that the annual dinner – which normally takes place a week or two before Christmas – will be moving dates and will take place on the evening of Friday, August 17th.
- Meyer has studied the works of Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and Paulo Coelho.
- Meyer also has a scheduled audience with the Dalai Lama on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 15th.
A lot of Meyer’s efforts seem to be lining up nicely in terms of his ability to showcase his contrition in advance of Ohio State’s special investigative unit’s plan of announcing its findings by Sunday, August 19th.
I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, however.
I’m also confident that everything is going to be back to normal for Ohio State very soon.
UMAA – NOT A MATTER OF “IF,” A MATTER OF “WHEN”
Those pesky media.
Jim Harbaugh gets asked a question about his inability to beat Ohio State and UMAA’s non-rivals from East Lansing and you’d think that UMAA was being asked to respond to the unfounded suggestion that Brady Hoke wasn’t all that good of a coach.
Is this the year when it all comes together for UMAA?
Is this the year that UMAA wins a game that means something?
Is this the year that UMAA says to itself, “Maybe we might need to at least act like the game against Michigan State matters – we haven’t been doing all that well against those guys lately and the fact that we take the week off from practice every year just before that game might have something to do with it…”
Is this the year that Desmond Howard comes clean and says what everyone knows is the reality of the subject that still bugs the hell out of him?
“Yes, I dropped the ball. Is it possible that the annoying Sparty defender knicked by foot as I was trying to cradle the perfectly-thrown pass? Sure. But the ball could not have been placed in my bread basket in a cozier fashion and I just flat-out dropped it. Even Keith Jackson said so – about six or seven times right after I dropped it…”
So much intrigue baked into the UMAA season ahead.
ON BEING WISCONSINED
On a scale of 1-100, with 100 representing “So Angry That We Are Considering Putting A Militia Together That Will Attack The State of Wisconsin” and 1 representing “We Just Had Two Teams From Our Conference In The CFP Championship Game And We’re Comfortable Enough In Our Own Skin To Not Worry About That,’ how angry are SECers about the way Wisconsin Wisconsins SEC teams regularly and how angry are they about the fact that Wisconsin is deservedly seen as a Top 10 team and how angry are they that they have to admit that when the LSUers went up there for the game when LSU was Wisconsined, the LSUers had the time of their lives and realized that the Wisconsin people are sensational, fun, smart about college football, and have an actual perspective on life that makes the Wisconsin people appear to be admirably sane?
The answers are:
97, 94, and 97.
NOT ALWAYS HAPPY VALLEY
We’re going to continue to say this since it’s going to be proven to be necessary –
On October 13th, the name of the town will need to be changed to Only Happy For Three Quarters Valley.
Also, if you’re not seeing that we have a hard time differentiating Franko from Chachi
… maybe you can see that we also have a hard time differentiating Franko from Vin Diesel – but not the Vin Diesel from all of the manly, hero-ish motion pictures he’s helped craft.
We’re thinking more of the Vin Diesel from “The Pacifier.”
RISE AND GRIND
The sun is shining in East Lansing again.
Spartans everywhere have had a rough go of it for a lot of reasons over the last year and a half or so.
Thinking back to one year ago from right now, it’s hard to believe (or very easy to believe) that there were many pundits saying that Mark Dantonio’s time had come and gone, his days were numbered, and things would revert back to a John L Smith-esque period for the Spartan football program.
Mark Dantonio has demonstrated very real leadership over the last year+.
He stood up in front of the media and the Michigan State community and explained – in full detail – all of the ways in which he dealt with the very real issues related to the sexual assault allegations that contaminated a program that had earned a reputation for doing things the right way.
He dismissed a whole bunch of players that had worn out their welcome due to bad choices, selfish behavior, and, in some cases, the aforementioned and much-discussed sexual assault allegations.
A whole bunch of other players left the program on their own – they saw the writing on the wall and that writing spelled it out pretty clearly:
The program was rolling up its sleeves and getting back to what made it the successful and proud program it had become.
There is still much work to be done – but it’s undeniable that the work is, in fact, being done.
The facts support this.
And after a dramatic turnaround season that included victories over UMAA, Penn State, and a Holiday Bowl win over Washington State that all led to a 10-3 record and Top 15 finish, Michigan State has its sights set on its fourth Big Ten Championship since Dantonio took over.
And the goals don’t stop with the Big Ten Championship in 2018.
Settle in, Spartans.
Spartan Pride is alive and well and will give everyone plenty to cheer about over the next few months…