Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | September 3, 2011

Life begins again

…with mixed blessings

It’s the first Saturday of September, and that means NCAA football is back.  Well, OK, technically, NCAA FBS football was launched on another exciting season on Thursday, when Wisconsin rolled over UNLV 51-17 (setting up a fun math reflection, since 51, otherwise a weird and lonely number, is divisible by 17).  Actually, a lot of teams played Thursday, including Georgia Tech and one of our all-time favorite teams, the Western Carolina Catamounts (Tech, 63-21).

And Baylor’s Bears knocked off # the 14 TCU Horned Frogs, 50-48, in a nail-biter on Friday night, so come to think of it, there’s really no excuse for ignoring the early action in the Football Bowl Subdivision.  That said, however, the serious stuff gets underway today.

Here at TOC, we like folks’ teams.  That extends even to the Texas Longhorns (except for 8 October this year) and the Miami Hurricanes, although the USC Trojans undoubtedly present some difficulty for right-thinking people.  We’re not so fond of Notre Dame either (although if you are, you have our support in principle), so the TOC designation of the annual battle between the Trojans and the Fighting Irish is “that low-class dance hall downstairs.”

But certain teams typically get more coverage, because they’re our teams from way back.  Everything starts with the alma mater, the University of Tulsa.  Its Golden Hurricane (that’s singular) has the distinction of playing for the smallest school in the NCAA FBS, formerly Division IA.  And yes, TU was in Div IA before the new nomenclature kicked in.  Tulsa plays in Conference USA, and therefore regularly cruises the south and southeast (e.g., Houston, Rice, Tulane, Southern Methodist, U-Alabama Birmingham, East Carolina, Central Florida, etc).  The Golden Hurricane beat Notre Dame last season in the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and we’ll be mentioning that often.

But today, Tulsa is taking on our long-time #1 favorite team, the Oklahoma Sooners.  About every other year, Tulsa plays the Sooners or the Oklahoma State Cowboys, whom we also follow with enthusiasm (both brothers went there).  This year the Golden H plays both.  Tulsa almost always loses, and is likely to do so today.

The team has been looking pretty good on the practice field, and comes off a 2010 season that started poorly but finished strong, ending with a win over Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.  But the Golden H’s secret weapon, multi-talented boogie-back Damaris Johnson, will be missing the game today (and may be out of football for some time to come).  He’s been charged, along with his girlfriend, with felony embezzlement involving the Macy’s where his girlfriend works.  Coach Bill Blankenship (who was the team’s starting QB when TOC matriculated, and took over for Todd Graham after he left for Pitt) has suspended Johnson indefinitely.

This will unquestionably put a damper on the joy in Mudville, and will contribute to making September a long slog.  In a scheduling coup that someone obviously thought was a good idea, Tulsa plays #1 Oklahoma on 3 September, #9 OK-State on 17 September, and #5 Boise State on the 24th.  Fortunately, there’s a bit of a break on 10 September, with the always-beatable Green Wave of Tulane.  Also fortunately, QB G.J. Kinne is back for his senior season, behind one of the most experienced offensive lines in C-USA.  A stable of promising backs will get a chance to show their stuff in Damaris Johnson’s absence.

The Sooners, although they will defeat Tulsa, go in under the handicap of being ranked #1 in the worthless pre-season polls.  We’ll see.  Their defense is hurting, and not only from the tragic loss of linebacker Austin Box earlier this year.  Senior linebacker and defensive captain Travis Lewis is out this week and next (against #6 Florida State in Tallahassee) with a broken foot.  Workhorse QB Landry Jones is back for his junior season; the youngish offense is curiously light on big-name skill players, for a #1 ranked team.  But, of course, the ranking is from pre-season polling.  Might as well be from a Ouija board.  Kickoff in Norman at 7:00 PM Central.

OK-State rolls out a new offensive coordinator and his hands-on attack program in tonight’s opener, hosting Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajuns in Stillwater.  LA-Lafayette should, to put it charitably, pose no problem for the Cowboys, currently ranked #9.  If you’re in a point-taking mood, this is a good place to go wild.  (The oddsmakers have the Cowboys giving 38.)

We also follow some other important teams.  Navy fires its first shot across the bow hosting FCS team Delaware this evening.  The Blue Hens are one of the better FCS teams, and the squad of Midshipmen under Coach Niumatalolo (Indian name:  “Needs a Nickname”) will have to be on their toes.  Army will be at Northern Illinois, probably losing.

Virginia Tech, another team regularly followed at TOC, is kicking one-time FBS-buster Appalachian State’s raggedy tail all over the field in Blacksburg.  The score there is 31-0, Hokies, with a minute and change left in the first half.  With spark plug Tyrod Taylor gone, #13 Tech is debuting a new QB, Logan Thomas, who seems to be looking pretty good (although we’re not getting the game on TV here).

The University of Nevada Wolf Pack has this weekend off, and they’re going to need it.  The next four weekends they play Oregon, San Jose State, Texas Tech, and – in a much-anticipated grudge match – Boise State.  All away games.  The Wolf Pack is moving from the WAC to the Mountain West next season, and the Boise State match-up looks likely to become a noted rivalry, if both teams continue on their upward trajectories.  Nevada also has the distinction of having defeated Boston College in the first Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, in January 2011, a feat that prompts nothing if not the exclamation, “Now, THAT’s a bowl name!”

We also follow a couple of Division III teams.  One is the Fightin’ Engineers of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) in Terre Haute, Indiana.  They play in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), whose teams readers will have a chance to meet as the season unfolds.  Rose-Hulman’s first game today is a non-conference bout, however, with the Tigers of DePauw University.  RHIT hosts, and we wish them well.  They can generally manage a .500 or near-.500 season.

New to the slate this year are the Captains of Christopher Newport University (CNU), in Newport News, Virginia.  CNU plays in the USA South Athletic Conference, and has a pretty good record with its 10-year-old football program (68-37 going into the 2011 season).  The Captains host their season opener against the Waynesburg University Yellow Jackets, a first-ever meet between the two teams.  Waynesburg (of Pennsylvania) plays in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

Other teams we take a benign view of – the Penn State “Nittally Lions,” the South Florida Bulls, Texas A&M, the Cal Bears – will come up as they come up.

It’s early in the season to start speculating about real rankings and conference/bowl shots, but there are a couple of very interesting results-in-progress and match-ups so far today.  Utah State has FBS champ (and pre-season #23) Auburn down 38-28 late in the 4Q, which no doubt makes the Auburn Downgrade Brigade feel pretty smart right about now.  It’s looking bleak for the Tigers today.

Big match-up this evening between #3 Oregon and #4 LSU; also starting the season off with a bang are Boise State and #19 Georgia.  Knowledgeable aficionados can watch to see if the Ducks actually start playing before the 8-minute mark in the 2Q.  Both the Ducks and the LSU Tigers, under NCAA investigation, will be missing key players.  (See the WSJGrid of Shame” for the good, bad, and ugly of a scandal-plagued NCAAF year.)

Should your team be followed at TOC?  Give us a shout-out.  We love football.  Meanwhile, this heart-warming football story helps us kick off the 2011 season.  At Faulkner University, a small Christian school in Montgomery, Alabama, the placekicker this year will be 61-year-old Alan Moore, a Vietnam vet.  Moore kicked last year for Holmes, Mississippi Community College.  Now that’s what we’re talking about.

Final question:  can Boston College, which just got the ball back, and has a minute left, come back from its 24-17 deficit with Northwestern?

Game on!



  1. It’s hard not to think well of Texas Christians calling themselves horned frogs.

    • It’s not hard to think well of Christians, period.

      t’s not hard to think well of Texans, period.

      Your intolerance and lack of appreciation for the people who afford you freedom and abundance is unfortunate.

      Your demise is not actively sought; but, by the power of God, you will be marginalized and your name will be wiped clean from history. This is the destiny of all who trust in man and man’s greatness. You are part of Esau, and you are part of those who grind their teeth and stamp their feet in rage. God laughs at you, laughs and will take your soul and judge you unworthy of it.

      I hope you change your heart, but know this: your side will never win, your side will never have peace, and your side will never, ever, rule.

      • Meg, have you been hitting the cookin sherry?


          Here’s a Christian lady! You hate her, don’t you?

          • Meg, one time, very clearly….I do not hate people because they are Christians. I do not think poorly of people because they are Christians. I do think that Christianity is one of the very best monotheistic religions around. Were I to choose a religion to hate, Christianity would not be my choice or second or third or fourth or fifth choice.

            There are people that I hate, but do not hate them because they are Christians and I do not hate Sarah Palin. I do not think that Sarah Palin is a good choice for high public office.

            • You are dissembling now, putting out the “reasonable man” approach which is the same thing jihadists like the “Imam” Rauf do. But in reality, you are an elitist snob who helps establish the narrative of the suck up media. You are a liar and a hypocrite. You are the backroom voice stirring up envy and speaking hate, a professional in propaganda with much knowledge on how to destroy and cause conflict. Exhibit number one is this particular post. Opticon writes an article about sports and you turn it political and ridicule Christians. Well you know your reference to “horned frogs” is much more than a friendly jest, but you just couldn’t help yourself. Why don’t you help yourself to an apology?

              • yeah, Meg, isn’t it awful when you deem enemies employ reason?

                I (and my associate Rauf) should have realized that being reasonable would prove futile.

                against Megatron, the frogs struggle in vain.

              • Reason knows no boundaries and without a reference point functions as the tool of its employer. Read Buck v Bell and observe how the most reasonable man in the United States judged it was fine to sterilize an innocent woman. After his decision, the floodgates opened. The only dissenting justice, Butler, a Catholic, had access to that reference point which Homes did not. Unless you repent of your arrogance, you will never understand. But open you heart to the voice that speaks softly, and you will hear and be healed.


      Hear it. Realize it. Love it.

  2. I thought we were talking football. LSU Tigers downed the formerly #3 Oregon Ducks rather handily. Last year’s #1 Auburn Tigers were short of tooth and claw and barely beat Utah State. Notre Dame, after severe weather delays, were gored by the South Florida Bulls. The Broncos of Boys Estate handled the Georgia Bulldogs, so their rating may improve.

    We are in for the usual early season readjustments.

  3. Well, we were trying to talk about football. The LSU squad did indeed pick off the Ducks, and it got worse as the game went on.

    The outcomes of the important games definitely made any pre-game cautions issued by amateurt sportsbabblers who shall remain nameless look rather silly. Oklahoma stomped all over the poor Golden Hurricane. The final score was 47-14, but it wasn’t that close. We didn’t expect Tulsa to perform THAT poorly. Regrettably, Tulane didn’t look compeltely awful this weekend, so the Green Wave may not be a pushover for the TU squad’s next outing.

    Navy stomped and chomped on Delaware too, proving the Blue Hens are a very long way from their last FCS championship. (Also proving that Navy can sometimes run something other than the option this year. And their kicker can boot one in from 54 yards.) 40-17, Navy.

    Army lost to Northern Illinois, as expected. 49-26, Huskies.

    The OK-State Cowboys, wearing absolutely hideous neon-gray jerseys (seriously, even worse than the Just-Shoot-Me Neon Red attire sported by Georgia in the Boise State game), tromped on the Ragin’ Cajuns 61-34.

    Virginia Tech had zero problem with Appalachian State. After VT’s 66-13 victory, FBS sportscasters should be able to avoid having to pronounce “Appalachian” correctly again for another year.

    Minnesota did almost bring off an upset of USC. Not clear why the Big 10’s Golden Gophers keep tilting uselessly at the Trojans year after year, but more power to ’em, we say.

    In more gratifying news, the Captains of Christopher Newport University started their season out right, defeating Waynesburg 12-7. We understand the CNU band performed exceptionally well at this event.

    Rose-Hulman, sadly, went down to DePauw 23-13. But the overall play was pretty even; DePauw capitalized for 14 points on an interception and a punt return.

    Lastly, in the “Go figure” column, we have the outlandish news that Oregon State lost to Sacramento State of the FCS (Div IAA) Big Sky Conference. The Sac State Hornets topped the Beavers 29-28 in OT. They will no doubt be insufferable in their upcoming bout with Southern Utah (motto: “Huh?”) this weekend.

    • The SEC (the second time in 9 months) has spotlighted the weakness of Oregon “popcorn football.” That is to say fluffly inside and outside. Empty with a lot of airspeed and and flash, like the President.
      Tulsa will do very well in Con USA.
      I was surprised that the Sooner D-Line was that dominate. They will be tested later. The corners looked good because they did not have to do much. The Tulsa QB had no time.
      Also , the OU tailback Whaley is a walk-on. Hasn’t played a down in three years. Was on the scout team. He was a bench warmer for Langston University. He is not a big guy. I have not seen anyone run through traffic like that in a long time.
      He made the Tulsa defense look like one of Fusters’ un-focused, name calling arguments. That is to say Full of Holes.
      Whaleys, nick-name should be Anti-Matter.
      South Western Oklahoma State beat North Western Oklahoma in Alva the same night.
      Regards to you.

      • I’m not sure I would credit the president with a lot of airspeed. That is, if we’re talking about the same president.

        That said, yeah, O-Ducks do seem to whiff in a popcorny way versus the SEC. Danged if they didn’t run true to form, though, and not get their hearts started until midway through the 2Q. Try playing a WHOLE game, guys.

        Whaley did look good. The Tulsa D has been known for giving a lot of yards on the “bend but don’t break” model, but on Saturday they just broke.

        We are tickled to take on more Oklahoma ball here. (We’ve been known to follow UCO when there was a family connection there.) Are we following Southwestern Oklahoma State, or Northwestern Oklahoma? — or both?

        • I have a neighbor that graduated from Southwestern. We were going to Alva Saturday night,but plans had to change.
          My daughter is an Art Major at UCO. She plays cello there also. They have very good teams sometimes.
          I went to a game at East Central last year. The new performing arts auditorium is stunningly beautiful.
          OU games are great to attend, but small football is a lot of fun. Very competitive.
          The air speed of which I speak is the velocity of the Hot Air coming out of his mouth. Incompetent one trick pony.
          The trick being to spend more money on “infrastructure.” My friends and I (the Greedy People) are in a state of wonder that there is a bridge or road that hasn’t been rebuilt after a Trillion Dollars.
          I would’t be surprised one bit if tonight he says “Let them eat Cake.” Jay Carney could spend a week on that one.

          The very best to you.

  4. Yes, your humble correspondent from the East Coast – Southern division returns sunburned and smiling. Those Captains of CNU have started their season off with a nice 12-7 victory. Pomoco Stadium was rocking as the stellar Captains defense made two critical goal line stands.

    The offense generated most of its best efforts running the ball off tackle, and their efforts in the 90 degree Newport News cloudless heat produced the two touchdowns required to win.

    It is a tad unfortunate that the kicker couldn’t hit on a PAT and an FG attempt.. but a win is a win.

    Meanwhile the Marching Captains put on an opening show enough to get the crowd applauding, of course for the show was even better since one of the new Sousaphonists has a very personal connection with Mom and Dad Fahvaag….

    As to my alma mater, GO HOKIES… Son #1, himself a Hokie – stuck at home with Daughter were relaying the game highlights to me via cell phone. – I am going to have to find a good quality AM radio (whatever happened to my old Panasonic Ball that picked up the Mets on the skip?) But he is currently doing time at the Alexandria campus, so couldn’t make it to Blacksburg for the big beatdown. My niece made it… but was more interested in the boy she was with, instead of the game.

    Logan Thomas looks to be a major find, and a fine replacement for Tyrod, who made the Ravens roster this year. He has all of the tools to be then next Josh Freeman or Ben Rothlisberger… David Wilson is going to be one of the most dangerous running backs in NCAA football, starting off the year with 162 yards in 16 carries with 3 touchdowns is far above what had been expected for his debut as a starter. He has a gear that most humans do not even hope to have, coupled with the power of a fullback.

    Of course the Defense was the worry this year… well… we shall see, since the only worry seems to be for the opponents to figure out who NOT to throw to…. Throw at Jayron Hosley and risk an interception… but JGW seems to have found himself under the zone, and the defensive backs keep coming for Torian Gray, Bud Foster, and Frank Beamer…

    It’s going to be tough for any offense to throw anything against this defense.

    The score of the game was actually 59 to 0, but garbage time with the 3rd string is necessary if you want those folks to get experience. Great effort by the Hokies…

    The sports media talking heads had a general consensus score range of 32/28 to 17/14 or so.. guess they were wrong.

    🙂 Sunburned, aloe’d and drinking a cold tea…


  5. As long as you’re aloe’d, shipmate, we’re down with it. Sounds like CNU could use Mr. Alan Moore, 61-year-old Kicker to Small Alabama Schools.

    It will be interesting to see Logan Thomas in action, when we finally get a Hokie game out here. I don’t know why we get as much Boston College and North Carolina as anyone could possibly want, but VT is chopped liver on our many sports channels. We get Weber State, Northern Arizona, and high school games from Pennsylvania and Illinois (???), but we rarely get the Hokies.

    Fortunately, Fox will be showing a lot of C-USA games this year, on Fox and FX as well as the sports channels. Between CBS College Sports and Fox, I should get to see almost all the Tulsa games here, which is a first. If OU and OSU will stay in the top 10, I should get to see all their games as well.

    Heard on the street: ironic fans are calling the Ohio State-Miami match-up this month the “Ineligibowl.”

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