There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Excuse me, but didn't the Japanese lose the war?

In the mid 1980s, while I was in school and for about a year after I graduated, I worked for Penn State's TV station, and one of my duties was to run camera every Sunday morning for Joe Paterno's TV program. Paterno wasn't very pleasant to deal with in the studio; if we weren't rolling tape within five minutes of his arrival, we would hear about it, with great vehemence and at great volume. But every week, a player or two would always guest on the program as well, and they were invariably polite, dressed in suit and tie at 9 am on Sunday morning when most college students were recovering from Saturday nights revelries.

Not like those nasty S.O.B.s at Miami.

1986 was an amazing year for Penn State football. Paterno had won his first national championship four years earlier when I was a sophomore at Penn State, and at the end of the football season, they were undefeated, ranked number 2 in the nation, and preparing for what was then an incredibly rare bowl game that matched the number 2 team in the nation with the number 1 team in the nation to decide definitively who would be national champions. Number 1 was the University of Miami. It was huge. And it changed college football forever. Next Monday's game between Ohio State and the University of Florida probably wouldn't have been possible without 1986's Fiesta Bowl matchup.

Miami's players reveled in playing the role of college football's bad boys. Arrogant jackasses, they walked out on a dinner with the Nittany Lions a few days before the game, strutted around in combat fatigues, and were just generally creeps. Game on. I hated Miami with a passion previously reserved solely for Ohio State in the Woody Hayes era. To this day, thinking of the Miami Hurricanes brings back that feeling (although I think Larry Coker was a decent guy who didn't deserve to be fired and was happy to see him win the MPC Computers Bowl; come to think of it, their firing of him was in keeping with their lack of class). I even find it kind of galling that then-Miami coach Jimmy Johnson is one of Fox's pre-game commentators for their bowl games.

20 years later, that game on January 2, 1987, is still the college football game with the highest television ratings ever. I could tell you more about the lead up to the game and what happened, but someone else has done a better job than I can. ESPN has a great story about that game 20 years ago tonight, almost an oral history.


Posted at 9:58 PM


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This site is copyright © 2002-2024, Ralph Brandi.

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio

There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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