You remember Gene Hackman's coach Jimmy McGintey in the movie The Replacements...the strike was ending at midnight, the replacements had no tomorrow, playing a team of stars who had all crossed the picket line, and "that makes you very dangerous people!"
Here are three early weeks of otherwise reasonable folks turned sociopaths by being backed in the corner:
Aug. 30: Florida Atlantic at Texas
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger made the promise after pounding Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl last season that few heard and still fewer believe: They're going to Austin to win it. He's taking 18 returning starters with him.
Texas is on a roll in home openers by a ridiculous margin, but the Longhorns are rebuilding a defense and looking too far ahead at a brutal Big XII schedule. Too many of us have UT contending, and everyone wants to be the next Appalachian State. If anyone can do it, it's Schnellenberger, the wily and wise Owl himself.
Sept. 6: Louisiana-Monroe vs. Arkansas (in Little Rock)
What does ULM bring to the table? The Warhawks went on the road and took Alabama down late last year. They're carrying into Little Rock 15 starters who remember that feeling very well.
They know that when someone says you are 24 1/2 point underdogs, it only means you have a great opportunity before you.
As well, the Razorbacks are on a downswing, retooling in every facet of the game, even though they are being led by a pro-set coach in Bobby Petrino with a big-time, albeit very young QB.
All told, it's too soon for Arkansas, and after several attempts, ULM just might finally get one from the Hogs.
Sept. 13: Auburn at Mississippi State
From the Lightning-Never-Strikes-Twice Department...the 'Dogs took their 13-point underdog status on the road last year and strutted away with a huge 19-14 win over Auburn.
Now, the Tigers have reloaded and are chasing the dream of a national title. For the first time since Terry Bowden, they could do it. However, I have two words: Sylvester Croom.
The head man got it clicking last year, also catching Kentucky not looking in Lexington. The offense might need some work, but I like Croom, even if he needs to refine his manners as a host. Result: Mississippi State will send 'em packing, and hurting.
I'll have three more later.
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