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Golden: TV and college football: a happy marriage

Austin American-Statesman logo Austin American-Statesman 10/17/2020 Cedric Golden

Long live the flat screen.

America isn't yet out of the woods when it comes to this year-long battle with the coronavirus but football season has been a welcome distraction amid all the positive tests.

A bit of unsolicited advice before we get to the heavy lifting: enjoy the games while you can because our viewing future is uncertain at this point.

Sports remains the great entertainer. With movie houses teetering on the brink of collapse and restaurants still not operating at full capacity, the games we love are keeping us sane in the craziest year any of us can remember.

Just a few months ago, we were getting by on a diet of Korean professional baseball,Tiger King and the Game Show Network but we've rebounded nicely with a great NBA playoffs, the ongoing MLB postseason and tackle football, pro and college.

Prime time would be a must watch with miracle worker Mack Brown's No. North Carolina Tar Heels scheduled against Florida State and COVID conqueror Nick Saban back in the saddle to lead No. 2 Alabama against No. 3 Georgia.

But that was hours away.

The only Big 12 game on tap was West Virginia and Kansas at 11 a.m. and since Texas has yet to play those teams, I thought, "Why not? How bad can it be?"

To my surprise, the Mountaineers were down 10-0 at home to the fired-up Jayhawks, who were playing spirited ball with coach Les Miles back home after a COVID positive test. They're trying to win one for the Hatter, I thought, before remembering the No. 3 question in my weekly Take Ten Q&A with Kirk Bohls where I arrogantly dismissed any talk of a Kansas upset.

Then the Mountaineers ran off 38 straight to set Earth back on its correct axis. The 21-point win saved me eating from a large plate of crow. I went with Pad See Ew from Madam Mams instead.

The lack of late drama notwithstanding, Fox's Gus Johnson was great on the call. Johnson and broadcast partner Joel Klatt — better known in these parts as the Colorado quarterback who got trucked by Texas linebacker Drew Kelson in the 2005 Big 12 championship game — do a great job of bringing great enthusiasm to their games.

Johnson made his bones during March Madness back in the day but was at his best in describing West Virginia's star running back as "Bad Bad Leddie Brown, the baddest man in Morgantown," an ode to Jim Croce's 70s classic.

Leddie ran for a ready 195 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown sprint that broke it open in the third quarter.

I then made my way over the Clemson-Georgia Tech game and didn't stay long as the Tigers were well on their way to wrecking Tech with a 73-burger behind five Trevor Lawrence touchdown passes.

"South Carolina is about to pull off an upset," the ticker at the bottom of the screen muttered. "Get over there."

The Fightin' Will Muschamps have been up against it for quite some time. Mack's former head coach in waiting at Texas has been in dire need of a W and a bit of liquid nitrogen to cool off that steaming chair in his fancy coach's office.

No. 15 Auburn provided just what he needed.

The Gamecocks beat Auburn for the first time in eight meetings dating back to the Great Depression — not the current one but the other from the 1930s — and it brought to mind what Texas coach Tom Herman told reporters the Monday after the Oklahoma loss. Herman went on and on about how great the Sunday practice was and mentioned it again days later.

It also reminded me of some of the witticisms Coach Boom gave us during his time as Texas' defensive coordinator. He always told us that practice was important but it didn't amount to much if the Horns failed to bring it under the bright lights in their fancy game silks on game day.

Well, after the season-saving win, ESPN posted more Muschamp gold from his Tuesday press conference on the subject of winning.

"It makes the food taste better," he said. "Your wife likes you more, your girlfriend, if you have one. It certainly gives you a better outlook on things."

Come to think of it, we all won if we were blessed enough to enjoy a fun Saturday of college football.

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