Clearing my mind and notebook while noting that $450 million of renovations completed at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field two years ago couldn’t keep the toilets flushing Saturday night.

An entertaining look at sports

Jollymen remembered

Southern Illinois quarterback Sam Straub represented two universities– the Salukis and the mighty Maguire University Jollymen – in Saturday night’s 24-17 loss to Northern Iowa.

It was all done for fun and in support of a good cause. And besides, if you’ve never heard of the Jollymen, it’s a story worth retelling.

Art Duffy, a 1982 graduate of SIU and current “chancellor” of Maguire U, was the first inductee into the imaginary college’s hall of fame in 1996. But back in 1962, the heroes were the drinking buddies at Maguire’s Pub in Chicago who came up with the idea of submitting a membership application to the NCAA for a fake college.

The scam worked for two years, earning Maguire U a listing in the NCAA membership book and making the school “eligible” for an allotment of Final Four tickets.

But it’s Duffy‘s charitable work in recent years – he was the high bidder for the “Black Out Cancer” game on Saturday — that explains how “MaguireU” made it to the back of Staub’s jersey and set the college on a new course.

They said it

Janice Hough of“Wow .Washinton State Cougars upset USC Trojans. Now for bigger challenge, finding somewhere in Pullman to celebrate late night.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Rutgers’ football program was put on two years’ probation on a “failure to monitor” rap. Even more embarrassing, the Scarlet Knights broke the rules — and the team sucked anyway.”

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Finally, the NBA is taking measures to stop teams from losing on purpose. If only they could implement a rule to help the Magic, who lose out of habit.”

RJ Currie of “One year ago, Vikes RB Adrian Peterson tore a meniscus. Now with the Saints, he’s hampered by a bruised ego and a swollen sense of self worth.”

Brad Rock of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News after a top recruit said he’d play football at Ohio State if he received 100,000 retweets: “Remember football’s simpler days when all it took was a couple of boosters to buy a kid a car?”

Jim Barach of WCHS in Charleston, W.Va.: “Rush Limbaugh says he didn’t watch the NFL on Sunday because of the National Anthem protests. Now Limbaugh knows how fans felt when he was made an announcer on Monday Night Football.”

Peyton’s place

Senator, football coach or astronaut?

If you are inclined to believe everything you read on Twitter, Peyton Manning could be the frontrunner for a bunch of jobs in Tennessee. That includes the one Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., is giving up, announcing last week that he won’t seek reelection to congress.

Never mind Manning has said more than once he has no interest in becoming a politician. But football coach?

After Georgia demolished UT 41-0 on Saturday, handing the Vols their worst home loss in 112 years, the “Ditch Butch” campaign definitely has kicked into high gear. It’s difficult to see how Butch Jones survives this season.

But don’t expect Manning to come to the rescue. In an interview with Nashville radio station 104.5, he addressed all the speculation about his future interests, saying, “Someone said I was gonna run a team, somebody said I was going to be a broadcaster, now they’re saying I’m going to be a senator. Next week I’m going to be an astronaut,”

UT, of course, would be foolish to consider someone  as inexperienced at coaching as Manning. But if the university needs another informed opinion about the kind of coach the Vols do need, Manning should be considered for the search committee.

That’s a position he’d be perfectly suited to handle.

Political football

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “An employee for the Buffalo Bills quit after the entire team took a knee during the national anthem on Sunday. Meanwhile, an employee for the Los Angeles Chargers quit after watching them play on Sunday.

CBS comedian James Corden: “Donald Trump criticized the NFL for making efforts to prevent concussions, saying they are ruining the game. I don’t think Trump realizes how dangerous the symptoms of these concussions are — headache, emotional instability, impulsive behavior. Basically. they turn you into Donald Trump.”

NBC comedian Jimmy Fallon: “We had a bunch of big football matchups Sunday. You had the Eagles against the Giants, you had the Patriots play against the Texans, and you had the president against everyone.”

Fussburger rant

If I never hear another word from Brent Musburger, I’d be a happy couch potato.

The 78-year-old Musburger, who retired from ESPN after 60 years of sports broadcasting this year, decided to open his yap again to criticize Tony Romo’s performance as a rookie in the booth.

I was never a fan of Romo when he was playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, but I’ve enjoyed the fresh insights he brings to broadcasts. And yes, Brent, I even enjoy trying to match wits with Romo when it comes to predicting the occasional play.

I don’t think that steps on the toes of Jim Nantz at all. But Brent’s not a fan of where this is all heading and used his “Guys in the Desert” show on SiriuxXM to take shots at Romo.

“Tony, get off it, okay? First of all, you’re intruding on your play-by-play man Jim Nantz, who’s just trying to give us the scene…we like to watch the game, okay?

“And the further…the more years you spend away from the league, you’re going to know less and less about the personnel that’s out on the field. So I’m blowing a ‘stop the hype’, okay, right now.”

I do believe we just heard ol’ Fussburger tell Romo to stay off his lawn.

I couldn’t disagree more. And that doesn’t mean I think Romo is always right. He isn’t.

In Thursday’s game between the Bears and Packers, he suggested the delay between the first two quarters would give Bears QB Mike Glennon a chance to hit the reset button.

“When you are on the road and bad things happen early in the game, it just continues to snowball sometimes,” said Romo. “This (delay) gets to reset his brain and come back and play football. He’s comfortable now. He knows the scheme that Green Bay has decided to run this game. So he gets to start a football game knowing the scheme the defense has come up with, and that helps a lot.”

It didn’t work out that way. The Packers won 35-14, building on their early 14-0 lead. Glennon finished with 218 yards passing with one TD and two interceptions. He also lost two fumbles.

Better yet, unlike Brent during his college broadcasts, Romo keeps his focus on the games.


 Headlines “Phillie Phanatic panics after spotting both mistress and wife in stands.” “D-Wade traveling country with metal detector in search of ring.” “Will Louisville be able to recruit elite prostitutes without Rick Pitino?” “Reebok cleared in federal corruption probe: ‘We couldn’t pay anyone to wear our shoes in public.’ ” “Colts miss 8 tackles on drunken fan running across field.”

More weekend success

If I can could have gotten a do-over on my Big Ten picks this week, I’d have taken it after underestimating Maryland and Michigan State. Those miscalculations resulted in a 4-3 week in the Big Ten and left me with a season record of 43-14, which lowers my winning percentage of 75.4.

Meanwhile, I had a perfect week in the ACC, picking each of the eight games in flawless fashion. That ran my conference mark to 45-7 for a season percentage of 86.5.

In the SEC I followed up last week’s perfection with only one loss, improving to 42-10 and a season percentage of   80.7.

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