College Football 2011: The Preseason "Quiet Guy in the Sports Bar" Poll
The debate rages on.
"The Navy SEAL who took out bin Laden was an SEC linebacker."
"No, he was a 3-3-5 safety from Michigan."
"He was a -- Michigan? Really?"
"Final thought: he was a tight end from an FCS conference, probably the Great West."
A dude beside us at the bar looks at us askance. We've seen him here several times, a quiet guy with an iPod touch and papers strewn before him. I want to ask his opinion, but The Quiet Guy walks from his seat for the exit. He takes the touch and his cell. The papers remain, documents before him left open for all to see. I glance, then gaze.
So, this is what he's all about.
I'm here with my sports buddies Gus and Wally. They were born in the Space Age and named for astronauts, probably weaned on Tang.
"Look at this," I say, "The Quiet Guy is a college football poll freak. I mean, he's got his own freakin' poll."
"A regular Sagarin," says Gus.
"He's back, man," says Wally.
Wally, Gus, and I look at one another. Body language says I'm voted to address The Quiet Guy.
"Hey, Quiet Guy," I say.
"Yeah, GQ," Wally slurs. Cut him off.
GQ checks out the big flat screen hanging above the chrome taps. He glances at the papers, then stiffening straight. Something is missing.
"Here's your...poll, my man," I say.
"Thanks." He speaks!
"Okay," says Gus. "here's your preseason poll. And I recite: Texas Christian and Boise State, BCS No. 1 and BCS No. 2? Are you kidding me? Oklahoma and Oregon at three and four I can stomach. Even Stanford and Florida State at five and six could make sense, maybe. But, TCU and Boise State?"
Wally reaches for the poll, drops it, and follows the paper to the floor. He reads, sitting cross-legged beside a bar perch, "Florida State and Nebraska and the first SEC team in your ridiculous poll is LSU at eighth? Are you out of your mind?"
"'Bama nine," I say. "Then Texas rounds out the 10, then Ohio State, Penn State and Florida make your 13..."
"Lucky 13," GQ says.
"Oh, lucky," Wally says, remaining on the hardwood,
Three women approach us. The Wives.
"Men," Wally's wife says, looking at her husband at her feet. "Let's go."
I turn to GQ. "Will you be back?"
"Monday through Sunday, five to seven."
I hand him the poll. We examine it.
1. Texas Christian
2. Boise State
6. Florida State
8. Louisiana State
11. Ohio State
12. Penn State
"See ya," I say. "We have to talk about this."
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