The Final: Today's Forecast
Heisman picks? Kyle Orton looks hot. GameDay picks? Lee Corso gets shot. Heather Locklear? Read on for more fearless predictions
By John Walters
So i was sitting in front of the tube two Saturdays ago, watching Ole Miss-Alabama on ESPN2 while working on my pilot script for CSI: On Campus, in which forensic investigators examine who butchered my story. ("As we suspected, the wound was self-inflicted.") Suddenly, one of the announcers opined on the 49-0 hurting that Southern Cal was putting on Colorado State. "Matt Leinart," he said, employing the Lee Corso formula (top-ranked team + QB = Heisman; see: White, Jason), "has to be the favorite for the Heisman right now."
Hey, I love Matt Leinart as much as the next guy -- if not as much as the next girl -- but before last Saturday's games the USC junior QB was 15th in the nation in passing efficiency. Has that boor in the booth heard of Kyle Orton? And might Leinart's success have something to do with the fact that he has three -- three! -- of the nation's scariest running backs (Reggie Bush, LenDale White and Hershel Dennis) to preoccupy opposing defenses?
But that's life. Prognosticators proliferate with their profligate prophecies ... and are never held accountable for their prevarications. Example: In 1989, Danny Sheridan predicted that Lou Holtz would leave Notre Dame "before or after the Orange Bowl." Sheridan was correct, of course -- Holtz left seven years later.
Alas, if you can't beat the forecasters (but if you could, wouldn't you take along that keg-tossing linebacker from Florida?), might as well join 'em. Herewith, my own predictions for the rest of the '04 season:
1. ABC, fretting over the booming popularity of Irish-surnamed ESPN sideline reporters Alex Flanagan and Sam Ryan (both females), announces that its own ace on-field infomaniac has changed his name to Jack O'Rute.
2. After Notre Dame tailback Darius Walker amasses another 100-yard rushing afternoon, Beano Cook boldly predicts that "Archie Griffith will win two Heismans before he's through." ESPN then returns Beano to his regular cryogenically frozen state. Meanwhile, the Worldwide Leader declares that they have signed Walker to perform at next year's ESPYs, adding, "He's come so far since his days with the Blowfish."
3. ABC, again fretting, this time over sagging ratings for Lost, its rookie drama about a group of castaways on an island in the Pacific, announces that Maurice Clarett, Rick Neuheisel and Steve Spurrier (oh, and über-series savior Heather Locklear) will join the cast. Message boards light up as fans debate who is sexier, Neuheisel or Locklear.
4. The annual OU-Texas showdown becomes a mob scene after savvy Longhorns students, who must have a yellow wristband in order to buy a ticket, show up in line wearing LiveStrong bracelets.
5. On Oct. 23, College GameDay makes its first-ever pilgrimage to Idaho for this year's Game of the Century, between top-ranked Fresno State and No. 2 Boise State. Corso dons a Broncos head to indicate his pick and is clipped by a hunter who mistakes him for a deer.
6. And finally, in the wake of the presidential election ("It's Nader!"), Southern Cal harvests scores of discarded vote bush buttons and mails them out to Heisman voters. However, due to a mysterious balloting blip in Florida's capital, Tallahassee, Florida State quarterback Chris Rix wins.
Issue date: September 27, 2004