Tharp says the "meanest, nastiest thing" he ever did was after a game in 1924 with Oregon. The Ducks had just beaten the Beavers, and a couple of Oregon fans had stolen Tharp's rooter lid, which is what he called his hat. "I stood behind a tree and waited until their car came around the corner," says Tharp. "Then I threw an oak branch through their windshield and ran off."
"You see what a disposition he's got," says Schulmerich.
If the Beavers win when Schulmerich has his letter sweater on, he'll keep wearing it to games until they lose. He hasn't worn his sweater three games in a row since 1978. Still, he and Tharp remain loyal. "They need you more when they're losing than when they're winning," says Tharp. "Everybody comes to see a winner. We've never quit 'em."
Schulmerich, a retired fishing-resort guide, has beaten cancer. He says he refuses to die until the Beavers win three games in one season. "Every year they don't do it," he says, "and I say I'll be back for the next campaign. My ambition is to live long enough to see it, but I don't think I'm gonna make it."
"I think this year's team is good enough to win two games," Tharp says.
"I'll bet you right now that we don't win two games."
"A bottle of booze?"
"A bottle of booze."
Paul Ridings is spinning his Yard-O-Matic punting wheel—a cardboard contraption that measures the lengths of punts—in the press box at Amon G. Carter Stadium and is wearing these clothes: lilac pants, mulberry blazer, violet shirt-with fuchsia cuff links, prune-colored tie, lavender cowboy hat and magenta cowboy boots. A TCU pinkie ring adorns his right hand. He looks great.