(Which, trivia note, happened to be the first game ever televised on the Big Ten Network.)
What struck me about those Mountaineer squads was how many really fast footballers played for them.
Which is why I knew immediately and intuitively that Tutu Atwell was going to be the focus of the offense. Every once in awhile, I get it right.
And is why I took notice of this recent proclamation by the Cardinal coach: “Tyler Harrell is the fastest player I’ve ever timed in my career.”
Which is why one must assume we’ll see the redshirt soph from Miami targeted early and often this season, starting in the Chicken Sandwich with a Pickle Kickoff opener, against the Johnny Rebs.
* * * * *
Speaking of football, which by the by is only a bit more than a month away, here’s some minutiae. Which I can pass along, thanks to the obsessiveness of a college football fanatic named Blaise D’Sylva.
Turns out he has a website, helmethistory.com, on which he chronicles every different helmet every school has worn going back to the 60s or further. At least one photo of all.
Because of his compulsion, I feel comfortable passing along these totals for the U of L Cardinals, assuming my addition was correct.
The Cards wore 5 different helmets in the ’30s and ’40s. Leather, of course. Six different ones in the ’50s. Six different ones in the ’60s, most of which were red. Seven in the ’70s.
Five in the 80s. With this curiosity. Louisville wore the same helmet from the ’85 season through the ’97 season.
The Schnell didn’t like dark helmets. The Schnell didn’t like change.
When The Pipe jumped ship in ’94, successor Ron Cooper had enough trouble figuring out how to coach to worry about headgear.
Three other helmets joined the list in the ’90s after John L. Smith took over the program.
Four different hats appeared in the ’00s.
Then the Oregon Syndrome finally made it to River City. U of L donned 18 different styles of headwear in the ’10s, and a couple so far in the ’20s.
You can see them all the website.
* * * * *
The answer is not Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney.
It certainly isn’t Mark Emmert.
It might very well be Greg Sankey. But I would disagree.
In this age, where the state universities of Texas and Oklahoma have thrown down the gauntlet, and put already wacky college pigskin into even more of a tailspin, the most important man in the sport is . . .
. . . Benjamin Franklin.
If ever we would have doubted that it’s all about the Benjamins, let’s put that to bed.
Forget loyalty. Forget regional rivalries of a century or longer. Forget contractual obligations. Forget the values faculty of those august bodies might try to impart to the student body.
Boomer Sooner and Hook ’em Horns are shouting it while careening around the gridiron in Boomer Schooner and atop Bevo.
“Show us the money!”
Fasten your seatbelts, denizens of Chinstrap Nation. It’s gonna be a wild ride.
* * * * *
Speaking of money grabs, here’s another tale of the times.
I wanted to watch USA vs. France in the ballers’ Olympic opener. I noted in advance the game tipped live at 8:00 am EDT Sunday morning.
Checked NBC and NBC Sports and USA. What I got was tae kwon do and beach volleyball and kayaking. No hoops.
So I double checked the schedule, to find out the game was being streamed on Peacock. It was free, so I signed up. Successfully after getting a password they’d accept. Who knew NBC doesn’t like ampersands?
Then when clicking “watch” at the basketball game, I learned that was available only at Peacock Plus, or something like that. Or Peacock Premium if I really wanted to go whole hog. Which I did not.
I waited and watched the replay later in the afternoon. While switching back and forth to The Basketball Tourneament and AAU tourney, neither of which encounters had been prerecorded.
NBC has spent about 500 bazillion bucks for the TV rights to the games, and they want at least some of those Benjamins back.
As for the USAMNT, they be needin’ to get their act together pronto.
* * * * *
Louisville Legend (and World Champion) Jordan Nwora played but so so in Nigeria’s opening tilt L to Australia.
In 23 minutes of action, he was 4/12 from the field, with three boards. No assists.
To be fair, if he hitched a ride on the private flight with his cohorts who also played in the NBA Finals, Nwora was running on empty with little if any sleep.
— c d kaplan