By Steve EighingerMuddy River News Minister of Culture and Doctor of LoveI’m feeling kind of nostalgic today … welcome to Vol. 137 of the Daily Dirt and today’s three thoughts:
1. There are a handful of TV series I wish I could click my remote and they would magically reappear. They weren’t necessarily huge hits in the ratings, but they were series that have always touched a nerve in my viewing conscience.
These are three long-gone programs I wish could magically make re-appear on my viewing guide:
- “Saving Grace” (2007-10, originally on TNT): There were only 46 episodes and Holly Hunter was the central figure. She portrayed Grace Hanadarko, described as a “heavy drinking and promiscuous Oklahoma City detective.” There’s also a “last-chance” angel — complete with wings and named Earl — played by Leon Rippy.
- “Knots Landing” (1979-93, originally on CBS): Granted, the first couple of seasons were rather lame and (fortunately) I never “discovered” the program until some point in its third year. Donna Mills played a conniving and heartless (at least most of the time) Abby Ewing, one of my all-time favorite TV characters. I have always given Abby credit for popularizing the “messy-hair” look of the 1980s. Long live Abby Ewing!
- “Green Acres” (1965-71): One of the most underrated sitcoms in TV history would seem to be an easy remake, and I keep waiting. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were the original stars of this program, built around the premise of city folks moving to the country and running into quite an interesting clan of local citizenry — and a pig named Arnold Ziffel.
2. For my money, the two best in-studio college football analysts are CBS Sports Network’s Kevin Carter and EPN’s Booger McFarland.
Both have filled other roles in their TV careers, but have seemed to find their true calling in these particular roles.Carter is an intelligent, well-spoken former all-pro defensive lineman who is extremely comfortable in front of the camera. He has refreshing insight and I would imagine he will wind up being a game analyst, at either the college or NFL level, in the not-too-distant future.
McFarland, on the other hand, was a disaster as a game analyst on ESPN Monday Night Football, but has been tremendous in this Saturday afternoon/evening role. He seems more at ease and has learned it’s not the amount of what he says, but the content of what he presents, He has also learned to tone himself down. When Booger gets too excited, his voice becomes almost shrill and extremely annoying. Those instances are now few and far between.
I’m also giving Maria Taylor a shoutout for her NFL in-studio work at NBC. She left ESPN about a year ago and is flourishing at the Peacock.
3. Speaking of football-related matters, here’s our NCAA rankings update:
Tier 1(Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, Pac-12, major independents)
1. Georgia (11-0): The college football world is waiting for that Nov. 4 SEC title game with Alabama. Win or lose that contest, Georgia will still likely make the playoffs, but if Alabama loses it could (should) be adios for the Tide.
2. Ohio State (10-1): Glad to see (most of) the rest of football nation is coming around to a No. 2 ranking for the Buckeyes. Saturday is the annual brawl for it all at Michigan. Prediction: Ohio State 56, Michigan 34.
3. Alabama (10-1): It looks like the Heisman will go to either Alabama quarterback Bryce Young or Ohio State signal-caller C.J. Stroud.
4. Notre Dame (10-1): Just think what might have been for the Irish if they had not lost that game — at home — Cincinnati.
5. Michigan: This is probably Jim Harbaugh’s best team ever at Michigan, but is it good enough to finally beat arch nemesis Ohio State?
6. Oklahoma State (10-1): The annual Bedlam game is this weekend vs. Oklahoma.
7. Ole Miss (9-2): Right now, my leading coach of the year candidates are: 1. Kirby Smart, Georgia; 2. Ryan Day, Ohio State; 3. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan; 4. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; 5. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss.
8. Baylor (9-2): Speaking of coaches, will Baylor’s Dave Aranda jump to USC?
9. Oklahoma (10-1): Or, how about the Sooners’ Lincoln Riley?
10. Wisconsin (8-3): Whoever survives the Ohio State-Michigan war better not be overlooking the Badgers in the Big Ten championship game the ensuing week.
Tier 2(Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West, MAC, AAC)
1. Cincinnati (11-0): I think the door is now legitimately open for the Bearcats to get into playoffs. It will probably be as a No. 4 seed and with a likely date vs. Georgia.
2. Houston (10-1): The Cougars, who will ultimately face Cincinnati in the American Conference title game, have a bye this week. No, not really, they play UConn (1-10), but it’s kind of the same thing.
3. Louisiana (10-1): Coach Billy Napier’s name continues to be mentioned for a number of Power 5 jobs.
4. UTSA (11-0): The Roadrunners have flirted with defeat twice in recent weeks, and should not overlook an improved North Texas (5-6) team this time around.
5. Appalachian State (9-2): Only Georgia Southern (3-8) stands between App State and a 10-win season.
6. San Diego State (10-1): The Aztecs’ matchup with No. 8 Boise State (7-4) could be the Tier 2 game of the week.
7. Fresno State (8-3): Bulldogs might want to be on upset alert with always-dangerous San Jose State
8. Boise State (7-4): This isn’t one of the classic Boise State powerhouses, but the Broncos are still entertaining.
9. Air Force (8-3): The Cadets are one of four Mountain West clubs in the top 10.
10. Coastal Carolina (9-2): The Chanticleers return to the top 10 after a two-week sabbatical.
Steve Fact O’ The Day: To the best of his knowledge, Steve has never had a friend named Booger.
Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He forgot he used to play dodgeball with Booger Hayes in third grade.
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