Sunday, September 10, 2017

The art of the payback

So, you think payback is hell, just like they always say.

("They" being the eternal mystery in these sorts of homilies. "They" are always saying something, it seems. But somehow no one ever tells you who "they" are, and why they're saying stuff. They're just saying stuff).

Anyway ...

Yes, payback is hell.

It can also be kinda fun, in "oh, no, he didn't" kind of way.

And so to the mighty 'Shoe in Columbus, Ohio, last night, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield sure did look like a Heisman frontrunner, even if it is only early September. Mayfield's 27-of-35, 386-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 31-16 upset of No. 2 Ohio State, at Ohio State, was exactly the sort of thing college football loves to bathe in legend. Mayfield may not win the Heisman, but that was the proverbial Heisman Moment if ever there was one.

Especially later, when the Sooners ebullient star grabbed the OU flag and planted it emphatically at midfield -- a bit of payback, he said later, for having to listen to the Ohio State players sing their school song on OU's field after the Buckeyes embarrassed the Sooners by three scores last year.

And so, payback. And one of the most college things ever.

Which takes us to Happy Valley, where No. 4 Penn State jackhammered Pittsburgh 33-14 in that old rivalry, avenging an upset loss to Pitt a year ago. Afterward, Penn State coach James Franklin seems to rub it in a bit, declaring that while Pitt beating Penn State last year must have felt to them like winning the Super Bowl, for Penn State beating Pitt was no special thing.

"For us, this was just like beating Akron," he said, referring to the Nittany Lions 52-0 warmup against the Zips last week.

Franklin went on to acknowledge that while this sounded like a diss, it actually wasn't because of his mantra that every game has the same level of importance. Nice try, Coach. The better move would have been to own it, because it's not often that a putdown manages to hit not one but two targets at once.

Pitt, of course, because Franklin compared the Panthers to Akron.

And Akron, because, hey, what are we, chopped liver?

Well played, Coach. Very well played.

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