Berets and Rednecks
Or, Hey, this is actually like a diary entry
The 1984 Sugar Bowl was one heck of a game and a bitter-sweet memory for me. My sister lived in New Orleans at the time, so I decided to make the journey. Almost everything worked out perfect. As I was flying down, sis was flying up. I had her apartment to myself and was met at the airport by one her friends—I’ll call her “Betty”. Well, Betty was one heck of a hostess. She took me to that famous New Orleans restaurant (a scene from “Pretty Girl” was shot there) where she worked part time and we ordered (literally) everything on the menu. All it cost us was the tip.
Attended the pep rally held at one of the ballrooms in the motel where the team was staying. Governor Blanchard was there and made a complete fool of himself when he admitted he went to Ohio State and his wife attended MSU. Everybody barraged him with chants of Recall Blanchard and Boo. (What a jerk. I actually sat in the row next to him on the plane ride home. He’s shorter than Mickey Rooney). Even cooler was the fact that I decided to hang out in the back of the room, and that is where all the players started showing up.
The night of the game we dined at Antoine’s before heading over to the Superdome. It was great. Auburn fans, at least back then, were great people. They would break out with chants and “War Eagle” and the Michigan fans would respond with “Hail to the Victors”. No one got vicious or too obnoxious. Walked to the Superdome after that with my little crew of hometown fans talking trash every step. Remember, you can walk down the street dranking in New Orleans for free. Watch out for the cops on horses though. Them horses can’t exactly stop on a dime.
And then there was the game. What a game it was. Talk about hitting! After the game Bo Jackson was quoted as saying—and I am paraphrasing her—that when the Auburn team looked over at the Wolverines before the game they couldn’t believe how small they were. They were sure they were going to whoop up on them big time. But after the game, Bo said he felt like he had just been in a heavy weight championship fight. Auburn knew they had escaped with a victory. Watch the game on the Classics channel if you can. That is truly vintage Bo Defense. It surely wasn’t one of Bo’s best teams, but that D was a monster that night. Bo Jackson was running for all he was worth that night, and was getting pounded for every yard. Regardless of the outcome, it was great to be a Michigan Wolverine in New Orleans New Year’s Eve 1984.
My seat was somewhere near the 10 yard line. In front of me were a couple of good old boys in flannel shirts, chewing Skoal, chain smoking and sharing a bottle of Jack Daniels. But, they were cool and well behaved and acting like good Auburn fans. In front of them was this old guy wearing beret and who was a member of the UM Alumni band. He was with his wife and both were resolute Wolverines.
After half time the announcer asked everyone to refrain from smoking. The accumulated smoke, which was thick as morning fog, was bothering the players on the field. Well, the two rednecks ignored the request, which apparently irked Mr. Beret who turned around and started chastising them. At first they just laughed the old guy off, but then Mr. Beret got stupid and reached over and slapped the cigarette out of one of the redneck’s hand. The rednecks were so stunned that they just couldn’t figure out what to do. Apparently, they had never had such an experience before. Thankfully, Beret’s wife reacted quickly and got control of her out of control husband. The rednecks said something like, “Sit your ass down, Old Man!”, and sat down. Beret guy pouted some, and then it was over. Saved by grandma.
Hooked up with some elated Auburn fans who bought me all the Black Russians I could drink and joined my little crew of Wolverine fans at Tippatina’s (when Tippatina’s was Tippatina’s) for the rest of the night.
At the airport, waiting to board the plane, I spotted Jerry Cooney trying to hustle some long-legged blonde at a bar. I cocked blocked the crap out of him begging him for an autograph—which he reluctantly gave me. He was a dang bum anyhow.
Hey, it’s the offseason. I’m posted up some junk.
As most of you probably know, Auburn's apparently hired Gene Chizik, a man that went 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State. The link below is of the Auburn fans letting Jacobs know how they feel, the second his private jet touches down. Classic.
Heard on Sporting News Radio that Will Muschamp will be Auburn's new head coach. The head coach in waiting thing at Texas didn't last too long, wonder what the buyout for this is gonna be.
I'm guessing that he will not be coaching in the bowl game, so that is good news for the OSU offense.
In the last two days 7!!! recruits ( with the possibility of more) have decommited from Auburn after Tuberville "on his own volition" resigned.
Wow, U of M did not this bad of a backlash after Carr retired. I can only remember Weinke? leaving the 08' recruitng class.
Any chance Michigan can land any of these recruits?
From my observations and what
has been written on this blog and in the MSM, I believe that we have changed our
recruiting focus from one that was more heavily focused on retaining all of the
talent within the State of Michigan and capturing what we can get in the
surrounding states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois) as well as a few athletes
from certain talent hotbeds (Florida, Texas and California) to a greater
emphasis being placed on recruiting from the talent hot beds. What are the ramifications of this philosophical
shift? And how have coaching changes
resulted in shifts in intra-region power?
- It is likely that MSU is going to recruit
better within Michigan
than they have in the past. My reasoning
is that as RR draws greater numbers of recruits from outside of Michigan and the Midwest
than the prior regime, more quality players will be available to the Spartans. In addition, Brian had a post some time back
describing how the change in the type of players we recruit will lead to
certain players that would have been a lock for Michigan, now being a better fit at State. I am not implying that we will not get the
guys we are interested in recruiting. That
will be dependent upon our continued success on the field and fostering relationships
between the program and the high schools within the state.
- MSU will likely become more competitive in
the Big Ten and nationally. The
increased talent level will have the potential to move them up into the second
tier of the Big Ten currently being fought over by Wisconsin,
Penn State, Illinois
- Assuming that RR is able to land better talent
from outside of Michigan than is available
inside of Michigan,
our overall talent level will rise, making us more competitive nationally. Hopefully, the relative talent level between
us and MSU will remain constant. This
should raise the absolute level of talent in the Big Ten at the expense of the
SEC and ACC (assuming our recruiting focus has moved towards Florida and the south east).
The risk is that we chase
windmills and fail to land equal or better talent in the southeast and cede talent
within the State of Michigan
talent to MSU. The Spartans then gain an
ability to win the recruits we want and there is a possible shift in power. As I stated before, the mitigant to this is our
continued success on the field and fostering relationships between the program and
the high schools within the state.
Observations and Parallels:
Is RR’s focus on talent
outside of the home state due to his time at WVU where there was far less
instate talent than in Michigan? I’m not implying that Michigan is OH, PA, FL, TX or CA, but it is
clearly better than WV. One thing that
seems clear, is that the tenures of Bobby Williams and John L. Smith (and the
Spartans refer to us as slappies??) decimated the in-state recruiting at
MSU. While there were not great numbers
of Plaxico’s and Duckett’s at MSU there were some clear examples of players we
wanted but State got. BW and JLS seemed
to have killed this very nicely.
There have been some
interesting changes in balance of power within different regions during the
last 10-15 years that may provide interesting insight.
- The fall of Washington
and the rise of Oregon. How much of the rise of Oregon as a national
power have to do with the influx of Phil Knight / Nike money versus the
missteps and poor coaching hires at UW? Has there been a re-routing of talent from Seattle to Eugene? Did the re-emergence of USC shut down UW’s
access to southern California
- The fall of Notre Dame, Illinois
and Michigan State
and the rise of Iowa and Wisconsin (and Northwestern and Purdue to a
lesser extent?). Did the inconsistency
of ND and Illinois cede some degree of control
over greater Chicago
recruiting to other Big Ten School? A
close analysis of the recruiting records (in particular recruit hometowns) for
each school over the last 15 years would yield some interesting insight. Did the Spartans losing Nick Saban to LSU and
the ensuing coaching chaos provide an opening to NU and Purdue?
- The fall of Nebraska
and the rise of Oklahoma.
- The fall of Alabama
and Tennessee (to a lesser extent) and the rise
of LSU and Auburn.
This post is to generate
discussion, as many of the ideas I have included have not been researched,
rather are observations of mine that seem to fit together with some degree of