Sorry to have missed the Week One podcast (see link below), but if you listened, you know that the other Three TMG Horsemen put on a really good show.
I readily admit that my absence involved a 19th hole. But I will say this: It was only the second time I had chased the little white ball in three weeks. Which hardly makes me a golf-aholic.
The golf game was scheduled before the podcast was. And before I knew just how seriously we should all take Tony Barnhart’s ``Mr. College Football’’ moniker. I think he’s ensconced, Brewster-McCloud-like, in Atlanta’s new Mercedes Dome.
We will work around that schedule in the future, Tony. Make sure you use sunscreen when you go outside.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Let me also say that I try not to miss an opportunity to play golf with my cousin Michael and his friend, Howard, a long-retired advertising man who has fascinating tales of working for Leo Burnett in the days when Don Draper was doing his thing.
Howard is 91, and still has a very sweet swing as well as excellent tales of the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel. I wanted to tell him about the time I scooped the hockey world when I found Blackhawks owner ``Dollar Bill'' Wirtz hunched over a Scotch in the Oak Bar during an NHL strike. Mr. Wirtz told me the NHL would use replacement players, and season-ticket holders would lose their ``choice locations'' if they didn't want to pay.
But Howard's stories were better.
When we were standing on the 18th tee, I asked him how many times he has shot below his age.
``Oh, a couple dozen times,’’ he said. ``If you can’t break 90, you shouldn’t play.’’
It wasn’t until the 19th hole, when I was tallying the numbers, that I realized that Howard had managed the rare feat of shooting below his age AND not breaking 90.
Kudos, Howard, for your 47-43. I wish golfers everywhere will someday know the joy of posting a number lower than their age while not breaking 90. Especially TMG-subscribing golfers.
OC/DC. . .
Speaking of old-timers, a special TMG salute to a pair of Big Ten coordinators who had stellar opening games.
Silver game balls to Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown and Rutgers offensive coordinator Jerry Kill. Neither is 91. But they have a combined 73 years of college coaching under their belts.
If you listened to the TMG podcast, when Mr. College Football and A Jersey Guy sang the praises of Brown, they took the words right out of my mouth.
Despite breaking in 10 new Wolverine starters, Brown coached ‘em up so well that Florida managed only 11 net yards rushing.
That’s a tribute to his skill as a communicator. And as a defensive coordinator who drew up an easy-to-absorb, attacking defense rather than one of those read-and-react deals that have more of a learning curve.
Brown is 62. Which is pretty venerable for a top-notch coordinator in this young-and-restless era.
On the offensive side of the ball, here’s a TMG shout-out to Kill, who did a marvelous job of having the Scarlet Knights ready to line up against Washington.
Despite being over-matched physically, Rutgers was only outgained by 59 yards, 368-309. More importantly, the Scarlet Knights, who went down the field on their first possession and took an early 7-0 lead, trailed only 10-7 at the half. Credit an offense that controlled the ball for 38 minutes, nearly twice as long as Washington.
It’s nice to see Kill, 56, resurface. A true gentleman as well as a clever and successful head coach at Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and Minnesota, Kill retired from the Gophers job in mid-2015 when epileptic seizures made it unwise for him to continue.
IS THIS CHAMPAIGN FLAT?
Illinois is a seven-point home dog to Western Kentucky.
WHAT GOES UP. . .
Four of the top nine teams in the AP poll are from the Big Ten. There’s only one way to go from there. And it isn’t up.
But it’s a nice problem to have.
TANGLED UP IN BLUE
I’m not a fan of Boise State’s blue field. What really bothers me, though, is when I see the clips of the Broncos wearing all-blue on a blue field.
Just put on orange or white pants with that blue jersey. You're at home. Show a little class.
I’m not a fan of Michigan State wearing all-green on its—gasp—all-green field, either.
Plus, the green jersey/white pants combo is excellent
What’s next? All-Camo uniforms on a camo field?
If I were the commissioner, the first thing I would do, after giving myself a $20 million bonus, is decree that teams can’t wear uniforms that blend in with their playing surface.
And while we’re talking uniforms, I’m old school. I think the pants should be a different color than the shirts in football. The a-Maize-ing all-yellow Michigan uni looked like unwashed Long Johns, whereas the navy jersey/yellow pants is a gridiron tuxedo.
And that said, I believe baseball pants and shirts should be the same color. When I was on the Sun-Times softball team, we looked sharp in our navy pants and red shirts. As good as it gets in 16-inch softball.
When the Cubs wear their blue jerseys with white or gray pants, I feel like they should be playing against the Sun-Times in Grant Park.
That said, I’ve made peace with uniforms that aren’t uniform (to my tastes).
The key to acceptance comes from a philosophy once articulated by Mike Royko, our Pulitzer-Prize-winning pitcher and the greatest newspaperman who ever touched a keyboard.
I can’t remember where Mike got the quote from. It was either a jockey or a boxer, or maybe even a broken-down ballplayer. But it went like this: ``Take two and go to right.’’
If only everyone adopted that philosophy.