Sunday, September 05, 2010

5 SEP 10: No Count, No Count

"Who are you rooting for today?" my next-door neighbor asked as I stepped outside for a Saturday morning walk. It was clear from his T-shirt he was rooting for Georgia - but that was no surprise. He brought up the Bulldogs' big win over Kansas in women's soccer a couple of times during the week. Shame on me for bringing up my road trip in the first place....

But on Saturday mornings, I don't normally have sports on my mind. So I had to think about the neighbor's question, before answering. "The games this weekend don't really thrill me." And I'm apparently not the only one who thought that way. When none of the men at the worship service bring up college football, that's noticeable.

I explained to my neighbor all the regional college football match-ups looked so lopsided, they seemed like preseason games. Bring a weak team to your stadium, fill the bleachers for a "home opener" and send the fans home happy with a blowout win. Some might say that's the real reason why Carver High School opens the season against Spencer.

Saturday's opening weekend of college football mostly confirmed my thinking. For instance, Georgia won a laugher over Louisiana-Lafayette 55-7. The visitors left town with a nice paycheck, thanks to the big crowd in Athens. Georgia probably will get that money back in December, thanks to a big corporation sponsoring a bowl game.

Two people with initials in their names made news at the Georgia game. First, D.J. Jones became part of the radio broadcast crew. Many people noted his Columbus background - but I believe he's the first African-American man to be on the air for Bulldog football. And Jones didn't even have to call games on WOKS radio first....

Then there's A.J. Green - the Georgia wide receiver who was kept out of Saturday's game. There are questions about whether Green attended a party in Florida which was hosted by an agent. They're concerned about the agent - and not whether he drove home from the party drunk?!

You can tell Georgia Coach Mark Richt wasn't concerned much about LA-LA-land Louisiana-Lafayette, based on where he was Friday night. Richt was spotted on the sidelines at the Buford-Carver high school game, talking with Auburn Coach Gene Chizik. S.E.C. Media Days simply have too many reporters now, to allow for coaches to have private chats.

Auburn had things slightly tougher Saturday night, falling behind Arkansas State 6-0 in the first quarter. But the Tigers won 52-26 - as quarterback Cameron Newton proved he's not giving fans the Cam-Shaft.

I stayed with the Auburn Radio Network through halftime, hoping to hear scores of other games. But Paul Ellen only updated Southeastern Conference contests - nothing from around the country. Apparently Ellen received a visit during the off-season from a consultant for the Ledger-Enquirer....

Alabama retained the national championship by silencing San Jose State 48-7. I say college football should work like boxing - and you're the national champion until someone knocks you out. I'm sure J.C. Penney would be happy to sponsor a "title belt" for this.

Georgia Tech had the lowest score of the area's "big four," but still socked South Carolina State 41-7. The visitors play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference - and this big loss left the players saying, "ME-AChe."

But what strikes me about all these games is that they weren't much in terms of "games." Georgia Tech actually brought in a team that plays second-division college football. The fact that the Yellow Jackets did this to warm up for my alma mater Kansas next week has nothing to do with it....

(Oh, you're asking how Kansas did? Uhhhh - did I mention I ran three-and-a-half miles non-stop Saturday night? Or that I'm glad my brother turned 60 on a game day LAST September? Or that the first men's basketball game is only 68 days away?)

So there's a part of me which says this weekend's college football games really shouldn't count. Only a few of them nationwide were fair fights between evenly-matched teams. Kentucky dares to start the season against arch-rival Louisville. And I think Mississippi would be very happy to call for a "do-over" - and never see Jacksonville State of Alabama again.

Let's see if anything else is making noise, on a relatively quiet Labor Day weekend:

+ South Commons was busy for two big Friday night events. Fans attending the Buford-Carver football game had to enter on the Port Columbus side. Fans attending the Gucci Mane rap concert had to enter on the Veterans Parkway side. And skateboarders somehow floated in and out, as they usually do.

+ WTVM showed a small plane in the grass at Columbus Airport, after making an emergency landing. A slide like this may be the strangest tribute yet to the Northern Little League All-Stars.

+ Callaway Gardens held its annual hot-air balloon festival. You'd think plenty of political candidates would show up there in an election year - at least to help the balloons get off the ground.

+ Pinson, Alabama held its annual Butterbean Festival, and claimed a world record for a 1,010-pound pot of baked beans. This may sound strange, but the scene reminded me of a pro basketball star of years gone by - Bob "Butterbean" Love.

SCHEDULED MONDAY: The man standing on the wrong side of the road (at least for me)....

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