Buck Lindsey's Inside Scoop on 2009 College Football
Buck Lindsey has been in and out of the college coaching business his entire life.
It was pleasing to hear from Buck last week with the news that he would be coming by to visit.
There are few things more enjoyable than sitting out on the porch with the man who has forever been known as "Big Buck."
So named to separate him from his little brother who is only 6'5" 250. One supposes that few dare call that giant "Little Buck."
On more than one occasion Buck has related stories that have to be true because no one could make up such circumstances.
An example is when Alex Hawkins played at South Carolina in the mid 1950s. Known to everyone as "The Hawk," he was a bona fide star.
Not to mention an incredibly popular personality among "the gentler of the student population."
However, he was not fond of the classroom work that was necessary to remain eligible.
Hawkins also had a strange habit, involving running around the campus each morning at dawn in very little more than nature saw fit to provide him.
Buck was given a solitary task on the day "The Hawk" completed his college eligibility. He went up to Hawkins' room while he was out running, packed all of his belongings in two suitcases, and had them sitting outside the locked dorm room.
Alex Hawkins took the hint. He ventured back home to West Virginia, licked his wounds, and became a longtime NFL player.
Is that anyway to treat the star player of the university?
A decade later, Big Buck was given the task of making sure all the Purdue linemen were in bed before a huge game with Minnesota in the mid 1960s.
He tells a story of the Boilermaker linemen becoming quite ingenious in order to stay out late.
"They were just kids in a simpler time, they weren't doing anything but hanging out a grill that closed up late but, Coach Jack Mollenkopf was nutty about Thursday and Friday night curfews."
Having checked out the dorm and found the lights off and everyone asleep, he thought it wise to venture down to "the grill" to see what was happening.
To his amazement, most of the Boilermakers were there. He decided two could play at that game so, he locked the kids out.
Upon a seven o'clock wake up call he was shocked to find everyone where they should be.
He later learned the Police had a call around 4 AM the night before as someone had reported a player "going to commit suicide over a girl" and that "they needed to get into the dorm immediately to save him from a horrible mistake."
Apparently nothing but a ruse, the team sneaked in, announced to the authorities it was "gonna be O.K. now, just a false alarm," and were sleeping soundly when Buck came around three hours later.
That ingenuity must have aided the Boilermakers the next day as they pulverized the Golden Gophers.
Buck's nephew is now on the staff in Berkeley. He reports that the Bears are loaded for, well, whatever it is Bears get loaded for.
"I've done some scouting around you know", said the huge figure in front of me as he leaned back and poured himself another glass of lemonade. "The way I figure it, ASU snaps back this year to contend and Cal challenges USC for the title."
According to his scouting report of the PAC 10, Oregon and Oregon State will slug it out, UCLA and Arizona will continue to improve, and everyone will be surprised by how good a job the "Michigan kid" (Jim Harbaugh) does at "The Farm" this season.
"The players love that guy, they're gonna play for him."
No report on the chances of the two Evergreen State teams. "Too far, too far to make up in one season to get out of the cellar."
The question of whether USC could win the National Championship arose. "No doubt about it" said Buck.
He elaborated by revealing "California has the weapons and the coaching to take down the Trojans." Buck believes if Cal and Ohio State don't knock off USC, the Trojans are home free to win another national title.
Exasperation led to a line of questioning regarding the dismissing of the heavyweights in the Big 12 and SEC.
"There are great teams in those two conferences who will not make a BCS Bowl, too many powerful teams and they will beat up on each other." It was noted last year they escaped such a destiny and put two teams in the title game.
"If SC had beaten Oregon State they would have had one of those positions. And if they been there they stood a good chance of beating Florida or Oklahoma."
This time the title will be settled in Pasadena. And, according to Buck, the USC-Cal winner will be there, waiting for whomever the nation throws at them.
"So what do you think, Buck?" Inquiring minds have to know.
"I thought Texas had the best team in the country last year and circumstances prevented them from even playing for the National Championship."
"If everything goes as planned, I can see Texas versus USC at the Rose Bowl playing in the BCS Title game, just like four years ago".
"But," he added with that knowing grin of the cat that ate the canary, "this time there is no Vince Young and you can look for the Trojans to get 'em."
Later in the afternoon Buck took off in his Dodge truck, he doesn't like "that artificial air" and waits until it is cool enough to drive with the windows down.
He did leave us to ponder the message of Trojan revenge and belief the SEC will be too strong for its own good this year.
Just thinking, what would happen if Ohio State defeated USC early in this season?
That must be a tale for another time.
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