Posted: Monday October 10, 2005 9:42PM; Updated: Tuesday October 11, 2005 9:25AM
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3:20 p.m.: I'd brought over some chicken wings and pita bread and hummus for us to nosh on. I grab a bread knife and am moving toward the ottoman, with a cutting board in one hand, when Beech shows that old military bluntness: "In the kitchen!" he commands, then adjusts his tone. "I'm sorry, man. Crumbs."
That's the great thing about Beech. He's both Oscar Madison AND Felix Unger. Mark Beech is his own Odd Couple.
3:24 p.m.: Completely apropos of nothing, I say to Beech, "I haven't seen many bootlegs this season. I've seen bootleg roll-out passes, but nary a bootleg."
Me: "Yes, nary."
3:38 p.m.: With the score 38-12, Texas defensive end Brian Robison, to borrow a phrase from ESPN's Rece Davis, "opens up a can" on Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar, who fumbles. Longhorns defensive tackle Rodrique Wright nimbly picks up the pigskin and rambles 67 yards for the game's final score. Wright's a regular Domata Peko.
ABC's Dan Fouts, remarking on the play, says of Wright, "He rumbles, not even looking back. That's the great thing. 'Who's gaining on me?' If you don't look back, you'll never know."
Fouts is talking about Wright, but he just as easily could have been talking about the '05 Longhorns.
3:44 p.m.: Another can has been opened, this time on Minnesota quarterback Bryan Cupito. Cupito is finito for the rest of the day. Now what will the Golden Gophers do with the score tied at 20 in Ann Arbor?
3:49 p.m.: What!?! Hunh!?! Third-and-10 on their own 26 with 1:27 left and the Gophers run the ball? OK, they're playing for overtime -- No! Gary Russell gets sprung for a 61-yard gain. HUGE block by tight end Matt Spaeth on the play (see, Matt, someone noticed) to stymie the Michigan DB.
The Golden Gophers beat Michigan for the first time in 16 tries and gain possession of the Little Brown Jug for the first time since 1986. Tell me there's a moment in the NFL regular season that compares to the Minnesota players sprinting across the field to the Michigan sideline to claim possession of the jug. You put the words "jug," "sideline" and "NFL" together and most guys just think, Oakland Raiderettes.
Minnesota head coach Robert Culp (well, that's who'd play him in the movie, people) is ecstatic, telling the sideline reporter, "I wanna see what that damn jug looks like."
3:51 p.m.: Northwestern beats Wisconsin 51-48. Bu-u-u-t, there's no PaulBunyan's Axe or Old Oaken Bucket or Little Brown Jug that goes to the winner, so who really cares?
4:14 p.m.: I'm pretty fired up about this Texas Tech-Nebraska game. TBS -- interrupting its regularly scheduled programming lineup of The ShawshankRedemption and A Few Good Men -- posts a graphic saying that the Red Raiders are 28 for 28 inside the red zone this season: 25 touchdowns, three field goals.
The Red Raiders quickly go up 21-0, but Beech has already hit his mid-afternoon coma. "You see that score?" I ask.
"They don't have any points on the board," he replies numbly.
4:19 p.m.: In case you care, our FAV rotation is currently Texas Tech-Nebraska, Iowa-Purdue, Georgia-Tennessee, Arizona-USC ... and Kim Possible on the Disney Channel.
4:21 p.m.: Beech just read that last line. He suggests that I mention that his girlfriend just phoned a few minutes ago.
4:33ish p.m.: Nebraska is still down 21-0 when Huskers wideout Grant Mulkey catches a pass for a first down. I think I see something but then dismiss it from my head. As soon as I do, Beech confirms what I was thinking: "Was that guy just showboating on a first-down catch down 21-nothing?"