I envy my Texas Orangeblood brethren waiting for the fall season’s action to commence today. Here in Jordan we await the season opener in the Middle East Conference. We have heavily favored visiting (US) Navy up against Syria State in a still unscheduled match. Returning starter Tom A. Hawk Cruise will lead Navy’s quick firing “missile offense” against Syria State’s outmatched defense, though Head Coach Assad promises a “graveyard” for the visiting team. Navy’s “CEO” Coach Obama counters that injuries should be slight since Cruise and his teammates will be heavily armored, in fact aren’t even human, and they will disintegrate each time they score. Air Force, Army and Marines might follow Navy in future matches, all against hapless Syria State, which for curious reasons is decimating its own fan base. Meanwhile, Great Britain has decided to leave the conference, possibly to be replaced by France (of all teams) in a surprise move. Other match-ups in the conference include the longstanding Israel-Palestine rivalry series (which Israel leads 100 to 0), Egypt Army versus Muslim Brotherhood, and Iraqi Shiites versus Sunnites, where action has already ensued with more fireworks in store. TV deals are solid for the conference with non-stop global coverage provided by CNN, Al Jazeera and every major network in the planet. Syria State has landed a major equipment and sponsorship deal with Russia and won endorsements from China but it remains to be seen if this will assist its campaign this fall. Osama Bin Laden will not be returning for Al Qaeda (ever) but the squad promises a bevy of fresh recruits following this season’s kickoff. Hook ’em from Amman.
Texas-TCU Pregame, Thanksgiving Classic
It’s Thanksgiving morning here in Amman and we will feast on turkey, all the trimmings, and whip cream topped pumpkin pie later in the day like every red-blooded, corpulent American, and in fact, we’ll repeat the food orgy the day after Thanksgiving, this time deep-fried turkey with all the trimmings, fried up by a Houstonian oil man friend of ours here in Amman who will be introducing non-Americans to the pleasures we enjoy before arteriosclerosis onset. Twenty thousand calories and depth-chart testing fat loads later, I will be in touch with my lean friend W.E. about his weight loss program. To offset in a minor way, I’m planning a turkey trot a bit later in the day in our neighborhood hills of still warm Amman, before the food kickoff begins in earnest!Sadly, though, I will not be able to witness the real kickoffs of Thanksgiving weekend college football classics like USC-Notre Dame, Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State, Texas-TCU…wait, is that the Horned Frogs, not our beloved Aggies? No collie barking and peeing on the sidelines, no corps turds goose-stepping at midfield to the tune of the Patton theme song, no crew-cut gay guys in ice cream outfits leading the knee-hugging 13th man in schoolboy cheers? C’mon amigos, say it, you miss ‘em, you really, really do. Now TCU ain’t bad, perhaps not Sammy Baugh-good or the spoilers that they were in the early days of DKR’s career, but the Frogs are worthy, to be sure, and like Willie says, they have the potential to derail the four-game streak that has emerged from the still too memorable consummate ass-whupping the Horns took in Dallas in mid-October, witnessed live in Jordan. You’re right, W.E., the jury’s still out, on the coaching staff in particular. Two games to go, then maybe, Inshallah, a bowl game where we get the opponent you don’t want but c’mon, just for old times’ sake and a story line we see Johnny Football and his resurgent College Station brethren clashing with an old friend. Happy hookin’ to all this Thanksgiving Day, and let’s win in Austin today.
I just got in from a few days in San Francisco. I observed the World Series victory parade for the Giants, million fans lining Market Street, wearing orange and black on Halloween Day in a highly festive atmosphere. It made me think that it might be a while before the Horns fans don the burnt orange on Guadalupe celebrating another national championship. Since that fine post-Rose Bowl day in early January 2006, we had some good seasons with ‘ol Colt and gang, but look at the situ now. Vince Young is no longer in the NFL and the Horns are no longer a BCS threat, it’s been a hullava long time since we whupped a ranked team, and meanwhile, we’ve been whupped plenty good by many teams that love to hate Texas. It’s been good times for them and Horns haters everywhere. Yeah, it’s a bit maudlin, I know, but the fortuneteller I consulted in the Tenderloin in Ess Eff said it wasn’t looking good for the boys and pointed me in the direction of a crack dealer hanging out on
Imagine the joy, on the off chance, of flicking on ESPN, to see if maybe the Texas-Oklahoma game might be on live, prime time, in Amman, Jordan because Gawddamnit, it was! I set my dinner plate in front of the large screen TV midway through the first quarter with the family to watch what was supposed to be a college football classic and midway through the second quarter, gagging on my chicken, hit the exits. This is the third season I have missed Texas football and I think exile in Jordan is as good a place to be as any because I ain’t missin’ nuthin’. I have lost that lovin’ Longhorn feeling. Invite Mack to your next tailgate BBQ, stick a fork in him, he’s done. Sure, Mack helped create the Texas athletics’ money machine, and he sure is a nice feller, and made friends with Matt McConaughey and all them high school coaches, but he’s just not producing to expectation with a $5 million buckaroo package. So maybe that money monster creation will be his undoing, because Texas has the cash and a fading reputation to go out and buy a coach who can do something. There has to be binders full of coaches out there who would love the Texas job, says Mitt the twit (as reported by the British press).
Texas-Oklahoma Pregame Commentary
I think it’s good to bring in the players’ perspectives when we fans get so worked up about the game. In the early 80’s I worked with a soft-spoken man in his 50’s at Save the Children who ran the organization’s projects in Tuvalu, a tiny island in the South Pacific. In a conversation at company headquarters in Westport, Connecticut, I mentioned I went to Texas and he revealed he went to Oklahoma and played a little football there, on Bud Wilkinson’s teams in 1950-51, owners of the longest winning streak in college football history. He played both ways as most did in the days before the platoon system and on offense, he was a damn good end (he didn’t say it but I just “Googled” him thinking about the game). But when I asked him about the Texas-OU game, he didn’t talk about his glory, he just mentioned the time he dropped a pass, and felt “the whole stadium coming down
on me”. And that was that. Kind of like when you want to hear war stories from a grizzled veteran and he’ll have none of it. Jack Lockett just wanted to save lives in the South Pacific. A damn good man, and there will be a lot of damn good men on the football field today. I salute them all, both sides. Win or lose, let’s just hope for a good game, that they play their best. It is a battle, a siege, and a privilege to watch, you lucky bastards. I haven’t been to a Texas-OU game since 1979 and this will be my third year missing it even on TV. I’ll get it on live ESPN feed though. If we don’t prevail, I’ll press on in the desert, and you’ll do the same. But we sure as hell want this one, yeah? Nice riff on Billy Joel, Willie, you could be headed down Tin Pan Alley.
Visit Wille Earl’s Longhorn Blog for a good read, even if you’re not an orangeblood: Willie Earl’s Longhorn Blog
Texas-West Virginia Pregame
West Virginia is a pretty good lookin’ mountain mama coming to Austin after some of those dogs hightailed it out of the conference. Nice to have her in town but it could get pretty wild in the back seat of the Ford while the offenses bang away at each other and the no-defenses allow all that easy scoring. Let’s hope the Horns’ “rubber” defense works, blocks some penetration. Geno’s a wild man, and I do think the Miners are gonna show up. Brace yourselves and let’s have a fun ride.
PS: I do think John Denver was a very fine musician.