How the Fighting Illini defeated the Fighting Irish
Well, Mr. Emerson and I never really saw eye to eye, partly cuz I slept thru most of his classes (he was also my freshmen algebra teacher which just so happened to be at 8 AM too), and partly because I wasn't impressed with him and his John Holmes-inspired mustache. He was that teacher that tried to be cool but failed miserably in every attempt. Occasionally he'd wear his gym shorts to class after playing a pick up game of hoops with some of the other teachers, just so he could look like any other human being. (We all know that it takes a special breed of homo sapien to become a teacher that doesn't initially include some form of coaching. Taking that much abuse just isn't normal, and I'm truly surprised more HS teachers don't commit suicide.) Sometimes Mr. Emerson would mention current event things like t.v. shows or movies or -- god forbid -- modern music. And yet teenagers just aren't fooled by the patronizing attempts of teachers. Mr. Emerson was no exception, and from time to time, when I wasn't snoring away, I'd give him shit for it. One time in geometry class he got so flustered at my verbal attacks that he grabbed me by my shirt and dragged me out of the classroom and told me if I was only a few years older, he'd kick my ass. To be honest, it was a smart move on his part cuz it scared the crap outta me, and for a few weeks I shut my mouth and actually learned something in his class.
Which brings me to the point of my story. Kinda.
The main thing I took away from geometry that year, the piece of information that really stuck with me from that class was idea of "proofs" and the three dot triangle that represents the word "therefore". Isocoles triangles, diameters, formulas with pi included, etc., none of it ever really sunk in my brain. "Proofs" and "therefore" did, probably cuz I had to write those god forsaken things out every single day of my sophomore year, and there were no shortcuts seeing that the three dot symbol was the shortcut.
Well, I'm about to present a sports "proof", a so-and-so beat so-and-so and so-and-so beat so-and-so "therefore" so-and-so would beat so-and-so theoretically. Don't shake your head and leave yet; just follow my logic.
Today the Fightin' Illini, called recently as last week the single worst Division 1-A college football team in the NCAA, handed The Michigan State Spartans a fairly embarrassing loss on their field in East Lansing, Michigan, 23-20. The game was pretty well played by both teams, MSU getting down early and fighting its way back only to have the Illini kick a game winning field goal with less than 10 seconds to play. The Illini handled MSU for most of the game including a sizeable margin in total yards -- 390 to 231, rushing yards -- 252 to 82, and sacks -- 4 for the Illini, 0 for MSU. It was a game-long headache for the Spartans who were probably still reeling from their loss the previous week.
Which brings me to the next point in my "proof". Notre Dame played a game for the ages the week before staging one of the most improbable comebacks ever overcoming a 16 point, 4th quarter deficit to win 40-37 against, you guessed it, more likely you probably knew, the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan. Anyone watching that game knows MSU absolutely dominated ND in the manner their in-state rivals (the team that shall forever remain nameless) did the previous week, only to have about ten minutes of meltdown put MSU's head coach on suicide watch, including a very fortunate late interception returned for a TD by ND. Notre Dame had no business winning that game, and only Touchdown Jesus kept the Fighting Irish from getting their second loss of the season.
Now here's the "therefore" part. Since the Illini man-handled the Spartans for most of their game and the Spartans man-handled the Irish for most of their game, the Illini would man-handle the Irish for most of their theoretical game. Were you to skim over a report with the words "the Fighting I*** defeated the Fighting I***" most of you would assume it was the Irish over the Illini. Not so fast, Sherlock Holmes. A closer inspection would reveal that the Illini and their freshman QB named Isaiah "Juice" Williams trounced the Irish and their golden boy QB Brady Quinn. And then you'd be picking your tongue off the floor.
Can I provide any more "proof" to my theory? Not really, other than Mr. Emerson would have tried to pull this joke on us, and we would have laughed him outta the building.