Daily Dirt: Happy birthday to our Minister of Culture and Doctor of Love

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Happy birthday, Steve!

Daily Dirt for Dec. 8, 2021


PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Today is Steve’s birthday. MRN will be taking him to lunch at Tiramisu so he can have his Ravioli Salsa Rosa. And before you ask, yes, he’s older than…dirt. JRG

Today, we tip our hat to the memory of “Coach” … welcome to the three thoughts that make up Vol. 151 of the Daily Dirt.

1. A major part of the lure of our favorite TV programs is often their supporting casts.

Did we love “The Andy Griffith Show” because of Andy, or was it goofball deputy Barney Fife or equally goofy gas station operator Gomer Pyle? Successful shows are not necessarily star driven. Look at “Happy Days” as another example. Was it “stars” like Ron Howard or Tom Bosley who carried that program — or was it Henry Winkler, a.k.a. “Fonzie”?

More often than not, those supporting players are the real stars. In no particular order, here five of my all-time favorite second bananas:

  • Nicholas Colasanto (Coach, “Cheers”): Once Colasanto, the original “Coach,” left the sitcom due to health reasons it was never the same.
  • Don Knotts (Barney Fife, “The Andy Griffith Show”): Probably the best second of all the bananas.
  • Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon, “The Walking Dead”): Reedus has emerged through the years, from almost an afterthought at the outset of the series, to the full-fledged star of this AMC flagship.
  • Jason Alexander (George Costanza, “Seinfeld”): Kramer was great, Elaine was tremendous … but George was heart and soul of that crazy ensemble.
  • Cole Hauser (Rip Wheeler, “Yellowstone”): This show is in just its fourth season, but Hauser’s character is impactful beyond any other performer and is spearheading the record-setting popularity of this Paramount Network powerhouse.

2. Today is my birthday. I thought I would share a few other important events in history that occurred on Dec. 8:

  • The late John Lennon was shot outside his apartment on this date in 1980.
  • Eventual Academy Award winner “The Deer Hunter” premiered in 1978.
  • In 1872, Brigham Young, who was 71 at the time, wed his 55th wife.
  • Famous astronaut John Glenn died on this day in 2016 at age 95.

3. Here’s my final regular-season Tier 1 and Tier 2 college football rankings:

Tier 1 (Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, Pac-12, major independents)

1. Michigan (12-1): The Wolverines vs. Georgia in the Orange Bowl might be the best postseason matchup this side of the eventual national championship game. (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Steve’s Big Ten homerism outweighs his natural-born tOSU hate for the Maize and Blue. Alabama is the obvious #1. Roll Damn Tide. KingSEC. JRG)

2. Alabama (12-1): Can you imagine the sound heard ’round the world if somehow Cincinnati would upset the Tide in the Cotton Bowl? Relax, it’s not going to happen.

3. Georgia (12-1): Think Kirby Smart would love another crack at Alabama?

4. Baylor (11-2): The Bears have great-looking helmets.

5. Notre Dame (11-1): Memo to South Bend: Join a conference.

6. Ole Miss (10-2): AN overlooked accomplishment of the Rebels’ season? This is the first time in Ole Miss history it has won 10 games. That’s kind of amazing.

7. Ohio State (10-2): Buckeyes will have their hands full in the Rose Bowl against No. 8 Utah. Ohio State won the only other meeting with the schools 64-6 back in 1986, but these Utes are not your father’s Utes.

8. Utah (10-3): The Utes are on a roll, including the rout of Oregon in the Pac-12 title game — their second win of the season over the Ducks.

9. Pittsburgh (11-2): Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett should absolutely light up Michigan State’s woeful secondary in the Peach Bowl.

10. Oklahoma State (11-2): Most interesting aspect of the Oklahoma State-Notre Dame matchup in the Fiesta Bowl may be Marcus Freeman’s first game as Irish head coach.

Tier 2(Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West, MAC, AAC)

1. Cincinnati (13-0): Wonder where Luke Fickell will be coaching next year?

2. Louisiana (12-1): Well, we know where Billy Napier will be coaching next — Florida.

3. Houston (11-2): Cougars can add an exclamation point to a fine season with a semi-upset of Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl. (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The Birmingham Bowl will not be played at historic Legion Field. Birmingham built a new stadium downtown. It appears to be the former Mecca of Southern College Football isn’t long for our world. JRG.)

4. Appalachian State (10-3): App State should annihilate Western Kentucky (8-5) in the Boca Raton Bowl.

5. Fresno State (9-3): Bulldogs deserved a better bowl game than the New Mexico Bowl vs. UTEP (7-5).

6. Air Force (9-3): The Falcons’ option offense will be a bizarre contrast to Louisville’s (6-6) wide-open attack in the First Responder Bowl.

7. Coastal Carolina (10-2): The Chanticleers’ Grayson McCall is an excellent quarterback. Hopefully, the Cure Bowl game vs. Northern Illinois (9-4) will show his talents to the nation.

8. Utah State (10-3): That was a huge win over San Diego State in the Mountain West title game.

9. UTSA (12-1): The Roadrunners hook up with No. 10 San Diego State in the Frisco Bowl, a game that could produce more than 90 combined points.

10. San Diego State (11-2): Aztecs boast punter Matt Araiza who is averaging 51.4 yards a kick. That deserves a legit wow.

Steve Fact O’ The Day Steve is expected to celebrate his birthday in quiet fashion this evening, sipping a Classic Coke (with plenty of ice) while watching watching reruns of “Wagon Train” and “Rawhide”.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Please join us in wishing him a happy 85th birthday.

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