January 3, 2011 by David Gillaspie
Hospitality is huge in college football towns.
When Oregon went to Oklahoma and lost, a waitress bringing beer said she was sorry the Ducks lost, but if they’d won the people in her place get mean and ugly.
We looked around and saw both.
Big and ugly came over with the sort of smile that turns mean in a second, and said, “Thanks for coming out for the game.”
No one mistook him for Forrest Gump and he didn’t mention chocolate, it just felt that way.
“We like folks coming to Norman, Oklahoma and telling others they had a great time.”
We said thanks.
The waitress came back and said he could tear the place up by himself after a loss, and come back the next day forgiven.
“He’s snakebite mean. Do you all have snakes out west?”
We didn’t know about snakes, but said we had deer ticks.
What ever the number of snakes and ticks and bed bugs that end up in Arizona, one thing is for sure, either a Duck or a Tiger will get them all.
And that means fire, as in burn everything you have if your team loses.
The bandwagon jumping is getting so hard and fast that stores can’t keep enough Auburn or Duck gear on the shelves. Lucky for Oregon, we’re on the Pacific Rim, have a big-time Nike store in downtown Portland, an employees’ store in the Nike compound, and a factory outlet on the north side.
Not to mention an Oregon Duck store down by the river.
What does that mean? A big fire if the Ducks lose.
After the way the SEC‘s gotten out of the bowl gates, you have to wonder. Either the Big-10 is too fat and slow, or the SEC just plays at a different speed than anybody.
The speed part is what Oregon will test Auburn with. First quarter speed. Second quarter speed. Second half speed. It’s the sort of pace that reminds you of poison oak: It might be on your leg, or on your arm, but you know where it’ll end up sooner or later.
Let’s say Auburn will be scratching and looking around before the game is done.
Oklahoma didn’t scratch much when they came to Eugene for the end of their home and home deal. They got homered in the worst way and knew it.
Not a lot of hospitality after that one. Death threat, yes. Goodwill toward man? No. Big and ugly got mean back home and threw a TV set out a bar window. He should have if he didn’t.
He knew his own brother put a hit on their dad, but promised no revenge until their mother died.
Fast forward to the family compound in Lake Tahoe after Mother Corleone dies. Fredo goes fishing with his nephew, but at the last moment the nephew gets replaced by a family hit man. Fredo knows what’s up. Over the calm lake you hear a pop and a splash.
That was Fredo.
If Auburn loses, there will be a big wave from too many SEC splashes.
You don’t tarnish that storied conference with goofy money laundering church stories to bring a known problem into the house, though Jeremiah Masoli had a good year for Mississippi.
You don’t dull the honor of the Heisman Trophy the same year Reggie Bush and USC gave one back.
If Auburn loses, when Auburn loses, look for flames in Arizona. Look for heat generated mirages coming out of the smoke.
Auburn will be lit up, but they have a cushion to fall back on.
The Southern ladies know the drill.
They could give a class.
They are giving a class.