(DISCLAIMER: This contest is for entertainment purposes only. No actual money is being wagered.)
Especially not this week, as my database is down. Please read Comments section for special rules regarding wagers made on Thursday or Friday.
The American Athletic Conference is known to lack any kind of long-term rivalries. or other meaningful games that inspire the various fan bases. A rare exception to that takes place in Houston today, where the visiting Tulsa Golden Hurricane visit the UH Cougars. Many years ago, these two schools played a game that the losing side is still annoyed about.
In late November of 1968, Houston was the #11 team in the country. Coach Bill Yeoman ran the potent veer offense -- the spread attack of its day -- and led the nation in scoring. They weren't a Southwest Conference team yet, but they were good enough to tie SWC champ Texas, as well as SEC champion Georgia. Their schedule also had a surprisingly AAC bent, with wins over Tulane (54-7), Cincinnati (71-33), and Memphis (27-7) in addition to their game with Tulsa.
Tulsa was having a down year in 1968, but was coming off a successful run: two Missouri Valley Conference titles; two bowl games; wins over Arkansas, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, and Houston the year before.
The week before the game, the Tulsa athletic dorm was hit with a nasty case of the flu. You've heard of H1N1? This was H3N2, or "Hong Kong Flu" as it was called, and it killed a million people worldwide. No fatalities in the Tulsa football program, but nearly the entire team was infected, and there was serious talk of cancelling the game. Coach Glenn Dobbs decided to give it the ol' college try. He would later regret this decision, saying:
We should never have played.... Flu just swept through the dorm, and the ones who weren't injured were sick. We took the doctor on the plane with us, and he told me the boys wouldn't be able to do a thing. But I just never liked backing out. They tried to act energetic, but they were so weak.
One person at the game said "I had never seen a team play with less energy, speed, strength, or drive. Tulsa that night was a team that was only technically present." Not only that, but Tulsa's attrition required playing people out of position. TU only brought two defensive linemen to Houston, and one of them passed out in the locker room with a 102-degree fever.
At halftime, the Houston lead was a mere 24-0. Tulsa QB Glenn Dobbs, son of the coach, led a scoring drive to cut it to 24-6. Either this annoyed the Cougars offense, or it consumed the last amount of strength Tulsa had left. Houston's powerful offense ripped off four touchdowns to make the score 51-6 at the end of the third. A one-sided result to be sure, but not a historic blowout.
By this time, Houston had removed its starters. But that may have just made the situation worse. Houston had good depth; backups are always eager when they get a chance to play; and Tulsa's players simply couldn't tackle anyone at this point. By the way, one of those Houston backups was future NFL coach Wade Phillips. But he wasn't even the most famous person in this game.
UPDATE: Wade Phillips chimed in on Twitter to clarify his role in this game:
@GarySJNE just to get story correct-I was 3 year starter at U of H and sat out the 4 th except for punt return on final TD -Wade Phillips— Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) November 21, 2014
Houston scored five touchdowns - two on pass plays - to make the lead 86-6 without about three minutes to play. Houston got the ball back again, and by this point were playing backup defenders on offense. One of those backup defenders -- Larry Gatlin, who went on to have a country music career -- caught a pass from backup QB Rusty Clark to make it 93-6. No, Larry Gatlin's not the most famous person in this game either.
Tulsa once again failed to move the ball on offense, and had to punt it back to Houston with about one minute to play. Another backup defender, Mike Simpson, took the punt at the UH 40, ignored (or didn't see) "go down" signals from his own sideline, and zigzagged through the Tulsa punt team for a touchdown. If you're keeping track, hat made seven touchdowns in the fourth quarter, three of them through the air.
The crowd, understanding what was at stake, chanted "Make that kick! Make that kick!" as Houston's Terry Lieweke lined up for the extra point. He was successful, and the game ended Houston 100, Tulsa 6. Houston had 762 total yards of offense, 555 of it rushing. Paul Gipson ran for 289 yards on 29 carries, despite sitting out most of the second half. He could have put up a number that even Melvin Gordon vs. Nebraska last week couldn't have matched.
After that beating, Tulsa needed a psychologist. Fortunately, they had one on staff: one of the TU defensive players in this game was Phil McGraw, later known to TV viewers and in various courtrooms as Dr. Phil. So to those of you schools playing the likes of Savannah State, Charleston Southern, and Fordham this weekend, don't run it up too much - you might create a daytime TV star.
Dr. Phil talked to David Letterman about his experience in this game; check this YouTube video. The pertinent parts start at 4:00 and 11:00.
On to this week's selections:
One bit of business: the Kent State-Buffalo game on Wednesday was postponed due to the current snowpocalypse in that part of the country. It's currently scheduled for Friday, but there's no lines for it anyway, so it's not available to bet. No one bet the game, so no bets had to be voided.
Also, ULismyhothotsex has not submitted a sudden death pick yet. He may do so in this thread, or email it to me.
Good luck everyone!
UPDATE: Due to an outage at my web hosting provider Brinkster, players have been unable to enter bets since Friday morning, and I have been unable to update lines. If you want to make wagers on today's games, use the below lines. These lines are the lines I entered Thursday night. If a more favorable line exists on Oddsshark.com, I will honor it, except for the Opening line which is not playable.
|Middle Tennessee State||-7||-275||57.5|
|New Mexico State||7||245||56|