Brett McMurphy’s Musings and College Football Picks for Week 7

What I’m wondering while waiting for this weekend’s games…

What would Beano Cook think of the new College Football Playoff selection process? In 1992, he correctly predicted an eventual four-team playoff.

“You’ll never have a 16-team playoff in college football,” Cook said. “The most that could happen would be four teams in the next century. But after that, I’m dead, so who cares?”

Friday will mark seven years since Cook’s passing at the age of 81. As one of college football’s most entertaining and influential voices, he was best known for his appearances on ESPN — “tell Fowler I can hear him!” — but long before he became a TV icon he worked at his alma mater as Pitt’s sports publicity director from 1956-66.

Before the 2013 season, Pitt named its practice fields after him: “Beano Cook Fields.” It was a fitting tribute to Cook, who was known as the Pope of College Football because of his vast football knowledge and sense of humor.

Cook is also remembered for the following story from his days while working at Pitt, which has been retold countless times. I’d like to share it to those who maybe haven’t heard it.

One day — decades before the internet — Cook received a call in the Pitt sports information office from a woman wanting a copy of the Panthers’ football roster.

Cook told her there were 120 players on the team, but if she waited a few weeks, the roster would be cut to 75 or 80 players. “Otherwise, it’s really a waste of your time,” Cook said.

But the woman was persistent. She demanded to know the name of every Pitt football player. Cook asked her why she needed this.

“Because,” she said, “I want to sleep with everybody on the Pitt football team.”

Cook took a second before responding.

“Well, in alphabetical order, starting at guard: Cook, Beano.”

So, for each of the past five years when Pitt’s great sports information director E.J. Borghetti tweets out a photo from the first day of practice from “Beano Cook Fields,” I reply:

I’m still hoping. Hey Panthers, Pitt — make it happen.

One of the “benefits” of being a voter in the Associated Press Poll the past few years is all of the positive reinforcement and encouragement I receive from the various fanbases via Twitter and email.

Some just respond “your an idiot” — it’s ironic, I rarely get “you’re an idiot” responses — while some just want an explanation from me on my voting as they present valid arguments for their favorite team.

Then there is Mauro.

Among the emails Mauro has sent, and I won’t reveal his last name, was this doozy after UCF beat FAU 48-14 on Sept. 7. He wanted to know why I ranked Ohio State higher than UCF.

Mauro wrote:

“I have one question for you this week.

1. In your opinion and based on the current year, what do you see in Ohio St to be ranked top 10 that UCF does not have?

They have a common opponent in FAU.


Ohio State (Offense) – 469 total
232 yds passing
237 yds rushing

Ohio State (Defense) – 228 total
206 yds passing
22 yds rushing

UCF (Offense) – 574 total
262 yds passing
312 yds rushing

UCF (Defense) – 314 total
177 yds passing
137 yds rushing

UCF had 5 less minutes due to lightning and there [sic] game being called.”

There’s no magical process in filling out my ballot. It’s based on my opinion and at least this time, I was correct as far as Ohio State and UCF.

Last week, my picks smelled like bad fish. At least this week they technically can’t be any worse.

My Week 7 selections:

Navy +2 at Tulsa
Fresno State +3.5 at Air Force
Kent State -11 at Akron
Nevada -2 vs. San Jose State
Houston +7.5 vs. Cincinnati

Lock of the Week: Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal

The Tote Board
Last week: 0-5 (I’m not sure if you really appreciate how hard it is to go 0-5?)
Year to date: 11-16-1

MORE: Will Nick Saban Ever Lose to One of His Former Assistants?