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  • Blog Entries

    • By Duquesne Frog in Numbers Make Me Horned 0
      Whither the 2016 Frogs?
       
      Bruce Banner and the Hulk.  Yin and yang.  Tyler Durden and the unnamed Edward Norton character in Fight Club.  Devil with the Blue Dress.  Sméagol and Gollum.
       
      The 2016 Frogs.
       
      Pop culture is replete with dichotomous but symbiotic opposites contained in the same body.  For there to be beauty there must be ugliness.  Good cannot exist without evil.
       
      There was some beauty to this edition of the Frogs.  That fabulous 40-point beatdown of the drain-encircling Rapey-bears.  The Charlie Strong swan song (La cucuracha, ya no puede caminar ...).  A 30-point beating of an SMU team who may not have been as dreadful as they appeared at the time (ask Houston).
       
      But the evil Frogs appeared just as often.  Kansas.  West Virginia.  Oklahoma State.
       
      And then there were the games when the Good and Evil Frogs battled for dominance within the same game, sometimes quarter-to-quarter.  Arkansas -- Evil Frogs in the first half, beautiful Frogs in the second.  Oklahoma -- Dr. Jekyll in the first and fourth, Mr. Hyde in the second and third.  For the first 5 weeks of the season, save for the inevitable Kenny Hill pick-6, the offense looked unstoppable while the defense looked atrocious.  Then, from weeks 6 through 9, the formerly unstoppable offense became totally inept while the defense started getting better.  Then for the last 4 weeks, the offense and defense joined forces, either showing Peach Bowl-level dominance or 1997-level ineptitude, but in unison and in alternating weeks.  Blow out Baylor.  Blown out by Okie State.  Blow out Texas.  Blown out by Kansas State.
       
      And then there was "home field advantage."  The Frogs were uncategorically awful at "The Carter."  The Frogs averaged a point differential of nearly a +10 points on the road this year.  They averaged a point differential of -4 points at home.  That means the Frogs were 4 points worse than an average FBS team at home and 10 points better than an average FBS team on the road.  On average, FBS teams were 3.2 points better at home than on the road.  Twenty-nine teams (out of 128) had worse point differentials at home than on the road.  Only Army (-22) had a bigger home-road disparity than the Frogs.
       
      A look at the Frog's numbers week-to-week shows just how inscrutable the Frogs were this season:
       
      Opp    Ark  ISU @ SMU  OU @ Kan   @ WVU  Ttech @ Bay    OkSt @ Tex  KSU PD   -7.40 19.20 21.20 9.82 -24.30   -17.10 -8.30 44.60   -20.20 24.45 -17.50 YD   172.40 107.00 243.50 107.09 -265.70   -28.70 81.20 365.00   -194.90 134.18 -252.60 Score   3.44 18.00 25.96 11.75 -29.11   -12.79 -1.59 47.46   -22.93 22.82 -23.94  
      Up until week 6, this team had the look of a pretty solid team.  They lost a game to Arkansas they had no business losing, beating the Hogs physically but combining a slow start, shaky kicking, and insurmountable turnovers into a painful loss stew.  They dominated two teams they were supposed to dominate, Iowa State and SMU, and then played a top-10 Oklahoma team to an almost draw. 
       
      Then there was Kansas.  Effing Kansas.  Every. Damn. Year. Kansas.  By DUSHEE metrics, the Kansas game was the Frogs worst performance of the year.  It was last year as well.  And the year before.  All of them wins, mind you.  But awful, terrible, no good performances against awful, terrible, no good teams. 
       
      And from that point on, the Frogs were usually a below-average team.  Except for Baylor and Texas, when they looked like a legitimate top-25 team.
       
      Looking at the standard deviation (a measure of inconsistency in this case) in point differential, the Frogs were the 12th most inconsistent team in FBS this season (Army, being the most inconsistent) with a standard deviation of 22.7 points.  That means the Frogs, who had an average point differential of 2.2 points/game, were just as likely to be 25 points better than an average team on a given afternoon (as they were against Texas) as they were to be 20 points worse than an average team (as they were against Oklahoma State).
       
      Such were the 2016 Frogs.
       
      Wither the "Big" XII-II?
       
      It was a bad year for the conference as well.  I want to dig into conference strength more after the Army-Navy game Saturday officially closes out the regular season, but as a preview DUSHEE had the Big XII-II about as close, on average, to the American Athletic Conference as the PAC-12, the next lowest "Power 5" conference:
       
      Conference Average DUSHEE Scores
       
      SEC 5.39 ACC 4.35 B10 4.21 P12 4.08 B12 2.30 AAC 0.79 MWC -3.82 MAC -4.19 CUSA -8.38 SBC -8.55  
      The bulk of the conference was really, really, middling, with only Oklahoma and West Virginia averaging a touchdown or greater better than an average team.  Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and TCU were between a field goal and touchdown better than an average team; Texas and Baylor were definitively average.  Here are the conference numbers:
       
                 Rk Team                              PD           YD          Score (Orig)
      8 Oklahoma  18.17 146.45 19.23 24 West Virginia  9.68 74.16 10.05 34 Oklahoma St.  7.75 31.94 6.72 45 Kansas St.  8.26 -12.39 4.90 49 TCU  2.22 42.59 3.55 52 Texas  0.04 51.32 2.52 54 Baylor  -0.97 52.61 1.91 73 Iowa St.  -2.89 -23.98 -3.09 74 Texas Tech  -3.51 -18.69 -3.25 121 Kansas  -20.46 -121.27 -19.53  
      The Revised DUSHEE score emphasizes strength-of-schedule and de-emphasizes performances that are far outside the norm for a particular team; but since a team's strength of schedule is dominated by the conference it is in (e.g., 82% of TCU's SoS was based on its 9 conference opponents of 11 FBS games), the conference's Revised DUSHEE rankings don't look a lot different than the Originals:
       
      8 Oklahoma  20.80 148.08 22.40 23 West Virginia  10.81 72.78 11.41 33 Oklahoma St.  9.30 28.00 7.81 44 TCU  2.88 54.12 5.04 48 Kansas St.  8.09 -12.21 4.69 52 Texas  0.74 51.00 3.44 53 Baylor  -0.98 64.48 3.06 66 Texas Tech  0.59 -12.74 -0.34 75 Iowa St.  -2.94 -37.87 -4.15 112 Kansas  -16.10 -120.33 -17.67  
      I would caution not to put too much emphasis on the conference's weakness this season.  It was a down year.  The last two seasons, the Big XII-II were either second or third in the average ratings.  Three years ago, many were having a wake for the B1G as a relevant conference outside of Ohio State.  Now, people are clamoring for as many as three B1G teams in the CFP.  These things are transient, and a small conference like the Big 12 are harder hit by bad years from top teams (ahem, TCU and Baylor).
       
      Whither Georgia?
       
      I also intend to put out a blog on the Bowl season but since we're emphasizing the Frogs, let's take a look at their Liberty Bowl opponent, Georgia.
       
      On an average basis, the Dawgs look about the same as the Frogs.  But on a week-to-week basis, Georgia was less Jekyll/Hyde and more consistently meh.
       
      Opp UNC   Mizz Miss Tenn SoCar Vandy   Fla Ky Aub ULaLa GaTech PD 14.00   -6.90 -38.30 -0.40 7.40 -1.80   -9.27 -0.50 21.10 13.10 -0.20 YD 194.67   -100.10 -132.30 -13.60 -66.70 203.90   -26.27 140.90 271.10 -79.20 -25.60 Score (Orig) 18.79   -9.46 -31.96 -0.93 1.69 8.70   -7.46 6.51 27.23 4.89 -1.38 Score (Revised) 21.40   -13.57 -25.54 1.70 -6.36 7.57   -3.18 7.05 36.52 0.00 -1.60  
      Georgia had two good performances; in week 1 against UNC (33-24, outgaining 474-315) and in their week 11 upset of Auburn (13-7, outgaining 343-164).  Georgia's two worst performances were back-to-back in weeks 3-4 against a weak Missouri team (28-27, outgained 409-473) and Ole Miss (14-45, outgained 396-510).  Their other 7 games, they were really, consistently average.
       
      Based on average DUSHEE score, the Frogs are a 2.5-point favorite over Georgia, but while we've seen a lot of the "average" Georgia team, we've seen very little of the "average" TCU team.  If the "good" TCU team shows, the line should probably be closer to 2-3 TDs.  If the "evil" TCU team shows, Georgia should be favored by 2-3 TDs.  I guess we'll just have to tune in and find out which side of the coin lands face up.
       

    • By Duquesne Frog in Numbers Make Me Horned 0
      Rank
      Team PD YD Score 1 Michigan  46.74 299.07 46.22 2 Ohio St.  38.30 324.63 41.88 3 Clemson  34.63 280.91 37.23 4 Louisville  26.45 367.75 36.15 5 Alabama  34.56 228.39 34.54 6 Virginia Tech  24.16 195.85 25.97 7 Oklahoma  18.62 230.53 24.02 8 Mississippi  26.76 122.33 24.00 9 Washington St.  22.25 164.75 23.13 10 Wisconsin  24.84 111.48 22.17 11 Auburn  19.83 171.56 21.86 12 Houston  20.60 160.68 21.82 13 LSU  18.59 181.89 21.55 14 Florida St.  15.50 211.28 20.97 15 Boise St.  19.17 150.78 20.37 16 Tennessee  21.13 124.58 20.36 17 Colorado  16.12 158.66 18.74 18 Washington  24.35 42.65 18.38 19 N.C. State  14.04 152.31 17.03 20 Texas A&M  19.72 66.79 16.51 21 Florida  15.02 117.88 15.95 22 Miami (FL)  17.06 90.31 15.92 23 Toledo  8.31 200.02 15.61 24 W. Michigan  16.62 79.90 15.10 25 UCF  11.95 118.93 13.95 26 Troy  16.00 37.38 12.55 27 Penn St.  13.44 67.45 12.36 28 Texas Tech  7.77 140.65 12.26 29 Northwestern  16.81 13.56 11.89 30 Baylor  9.69 104.88 11.74 31 Indiana  7.63 127.08 11.49 32 West Virginia  13.36 47.38 11.29 33 Nebraska  12.52 52.98 11.01 34 BYU  7.61 105.06 10.37 35 Oregon  9.33 68.03 9.65 36 Stanford  12.12 20.40 9.11 37 USC  6.39 87.81 8.68 38 Memphis  17.02 -65.54 8.05 39 Maryland  11.05 11.87 7.96 40 Navy  10.21 22.83 7.96 41 Air Force  8.98 31.67 7.58 42 Oklahoma St.  6.97 48.98 7.11 43 Kansas St.  12.52 -30.23 6.83 44 UCLA  4.94 64.10 6.52 45 Temple  6.40 42.32 6.40 46 Arkansas  6.03 32.40 5.65 47 South Florida  5.85 30.90 5.46 48 Army  2.47 60.83 4.71 49 Arizona  2.98 49.59 4.48 50 TCU  0.68 61.50 3.55 51 Utah  1.76 42.25 3.30 52 Georgia Tech  5.56 -10.63 3.17 53 Appalachian State 5.82 -23.22 2.71 54 Louisiana Tech  -0.77 59.60 2.49 55 Arizona St.  5.85 -34.88 2.15 56 Mississippi St.  0.93 21.93 1.73 57 East Carolina  -6.16 115.25 1.69 58 Texas  -0.27 35.85 1.63 59 San Diego St.  0.18 17.35 0.99 60 California  0.01 18.93 0.96 61 Southern Miss  -2.81 52.80 0.78 62 Tulsa  -4.69 70.25 0.41 63 Notre Dame  -0.04 -0.11 -0.03 64 Cent. Michigan  -2.37 22.47 -0.45 65 Duke  -0.08 -12.79 -0.70 66 West. Kentucky  -0.21 -14.14 -0.85 67 North Carolina  -1.62 0.38 -1.06 68 Iowa  4.42 -81.27 -1.15 69 Wake Forest  2.85 -62.53 -1.25 70 Michigan St.  -4.38 30.53 -1.38 71 Georgia  -1.87 -13.30 -1.92 72 Missouri  -2.71 -5.65 -2.09 73 Old Dominion -2.11 -17.37 -2.28 74 Pittsburgh  -1.65 -45.16 -3.37 75 Wyoming  0.62 -79.65 -3.60 76 Minnesota  -1.57 -56.98 -3.92 77 Iowa St.  -3.40 -37.03 -4.13 78 Cincinnati  -6.70 -9.92 -4.97 79 Kentucky  -3.33 -55.94 -5.03 80 South Alabama -2.21 -71.69 -5.08 81 Northern Illinois  -5.35 -47.12 -5.94 82 Virginia  -5.88 -54.06 -6.64 83 Boston Coll.  -9.59 -5.33 -6.66 84 UT-San Antonio -1.19 -118.69 -6.77 85 Vanderbilt  -2.49 -109.14 -7.15 86 Connecticut  -5.90 -69.10 -7.41 87 Middle Tenn. St.  -7.98 -42.06 -7.43 88 Oregon St.  -8.15 -56.22 -8.26 89 Syracuse  -9.28 -45.81 -8.49 90 Utah St.  -11.48 -16.80 -8.50 91 Tulane  -5.77 -120.54 -9.92 92 LA Lafayette  -11.06 -55.58 -10.17 93 Georgia Southern -8.40 -101.31 -10.70 94 SMU  -12.45 -49.22 -10.78 95 Miami (OH)  -14.25 -39.95 -11.51 96 Hawaii  -12.62 -63.23 -11.60 97 Arkansas St.  -14.72 -46.34 -12.15 98 Illinois  -13.63 -69.98 -12.61 99 Colorado St.  -11.77 -96.00 -12.68 100 Kent St.  -10.64 -120.15 -13.14 101 Ball St.  -12.20 -99.60 -13.15 102 South Carolina  -10.97 -129.89 -13.85 103 Rutgers  -11.07 -129.18 -13.88 104 Kansas  -14.65 -83.88 -13.99 105 Akron  -8.15 -192.43 -15.12 106 Massachusetts -14.70 -126.25 -16.16 107 Ohio  -18.51 -78.56 -16.29 108 East. Michigan  -20.00 -83.12 -17.52 109 Georgia State -12.73 -199.90 -18.55 110 Purdue  -21.21 -109.42 -19.65 111 Fresno St.  -21.10 -120.42 -20.13 112 New Mexico  -26.13 -60.56 -20.47 113 UNLV  -19.93 -147.21 -20.70 114 Rice  -17.57 -202.97 -21.93 115 Florida Intl.  -24.02 -129.24 -22.52 116 New Mexico St.  -26.09 -105.07 -22.69 117 Idaho  -17.98 -221.97 -23.17 118 UTEP  -28.60 -82.67 -23.23 119 North Texas  -18.77 -231.57 -24.17 120 Marshall  -19.94 -217.38 -24.24 121 Bowling Green  -26.30 -133.85 -24.27 122 UNC-Charlotte -29.30 -103.35 -24.74 123 Nevada  -22.86 -212.86 -25.96 124 Florida Atlantic  -26.92 -231.18 -29.59 125 LA Monroe  -30.80 -201.59 -30.68 126 San Jose St.  -33.62 -164.62 -30.70 127 Buffalo  -28.81 -230.94 -30.84 128 Texas St. -30.81 -275.44 -34.41
    • By FrogAbroad in FrogAblog 4
      The clerk in the paint department at Home Depot thought I was a little strange.  There I was, Saturday-morning-jeans-and-flannel-shirt
      dressed, a shopping list in one hand and a cup of complimentary coffee in the other, standing in front of the paint display, laughing out
      loud.  You see, they had polyurethane varnish on sale and that bought it all back in a rush, the memory of the time my Uncle Fred varnished
      the outhouse.
       
      Uncle Fred was a fool for things on sale.  If something was on sale he felt he ought to buy it...save some money...get a good deal...even
      if it was something he had no idea of when or where or how he would use it.  Fred saved so much money buying stuff on sale he was usually
      short a week before payday.  He was always surprising Aunt Birdie with what he'd bring home from a trip to town.  (Her name was really
      Bertha, but that was shortened to "Bertie," of course, and most of us kids thought it was "Birdie" so that's what we all grew up calling
      her.)  When Wal-Mart opened up a store in the town just up the road from Fred and Birdie's farm, he must have thought he'd died and gone to
      heaven.  On one Saturday trip to town for a haircut and "just to pick up a couple of things at the Wal-Mart's to fix  the electric fence
      the new calf knocked down," Fred saw a big display of generic disposable diapers, marked 50% off.  Now, Fred and Birdie hadn't had any
      babies around the farm in 20 or 25 years, but these diapers were just too good a deal to pass up.  Fred bought 200.  The woman at the
      checkout probably gave him the same kind of look the Home Depot paint consultant gave me -- a 68 year-old man buying a dozen ceramic
      insulators, a pound-and-a-half of wood screws, and 200 disposable diapers does make the average clerk take notice, after all.  Well,
      naturally when Fred got back home he had some explaining to do.  Birdie was a practical-minded woman, and being well past child-bearing age
      and disposition, she simply could not imagine why 200 disposable diapers were a bargain at any price.  But if Birdie was practical she was
      also still in love with Fred after their 49 years together, and had resigned herself to never fully understanding this man who had won her
      heart.  Fred mumbled something about "insulation" and "chick brooder" and that was enough for Birdie.  The disposable diapers went into the
      shed on the top shelf over the door -- until the following February.
       
      That February was the coldest, windiest, meanest February anybody under the age of 85 could remember.  It was cold in the morning.  It
      stayed cold all day.  It seemed even colder at night.  Fred and Birdie's house was modestly insulated, too modestly for that February.  
      They had butane to cook and heat with, and usually the space heaters kept the house warm enough, but not that February.  You see, Fred was
      a little short on cash until the end of the month, having saved too much money at Barney's Auction Barn again, and the little bit of butane
      left in the tank had to be rationed.  They both wore long cotton underwear and two shirts and a jacket around the house during the daytime,
      but at night, well, at night, it was just too cold to sleep.  That's when Fred remembered the disposable diapers.  If those diapers would
      have insulated the chick brooder, why wouldn't they insulate anything?  Fred brought in the cartons, spread a few diapers on the kitchen
      table (it was warm in the kitchen from Birdie's cooking) and sat down to think.  It's amazing how crisis can inspire genius, and that's
      what Fred's idea was, just sheer genius.  It took him only an hour or so and a six cups of coffee, too.  That night Fred and Birdie
      prepared for bed, but this time they were ready for anything a cold February night had in store.  They wore disposable diapers.  They wore
      them around their legs, around their arms, around every bit of them they could cover with a diaper.  One diaper was just the right size to
      wrap around an arm or a leg, and the diaper's own strip of sticky tape snugged it down so it didn't fall off.  Fred pieced several diapers
      together with that tape, wrapped them around his chest, and pulled a tee shirt on over them.  Pajamas over that, and he was ready for bed.  
      Birdie was a little trickier to fit, owing to a few now relatively minor anatomical differences, but soon she too was fully insulated
      against the bitter February winter.  Of course, once insulated they had to move around the house carefully to avoid loosening the tape, but
      all in all it was an outstanding feat.  They were already dressed for bed one night when I stopped by to see how they were doing, and I'll
      confess I was impressed.  They did look a little odd, sort of like two deep-sea divers with their suits inflated and their steel helmets
      off, walking stiff-legged around the house, but they were warm enough, and that's all that mattered.  The diaper insulation lasted only
      about a week, then the sticky tape began to come lose during the night and the diapers began bunching up, but by then Fred's Social
      Security check had come in the mail and he had enough money to call the butane truck out to fill up the tank again.  I don't know whatever
      happened to the rest of those diapers.  I suppose they're still out in the shed, waiting for the chick brooder project.
       
      But I digress.  I was telling you about varnishing the outhouse.
       
      Uncle Fred’s favorite place for sniffing out bargains was Rudy’s Railroad Salvage.  Rudy’s was a large barn-like warehouse with splintery
      wood floors, concrete block walls, a tin roof that had seen much better days at least a decade before, and military-surplus light fixtures
      swinging from black and red wiring.  The warehouse held an astounding inventory:   garden rakes and folding chairs, wool socks by the gross
      and roofing nails by the keg.  Somewhere among the remnants of lost and damaged freight shipments Fred discovered a stack of five-gallon
      plastic buckets of polyurethane varnish for $25 each, no limit, cash-and-carry.  As he read the label on one bucket, Fred realized this
      polyurethane varnish was almost miraculous.  It dried fast to a hard, water-resistant finish and bonded to any porous surface, guaranteed
      not to peel or blister for at least five years if applied according to the instructions on the label.  Now Fred has been meaning to do
      something about the worn floorboards and railings on the front porch.  Fact was, Birdie had been gently nagging him about it for the last
      six or seven years.  And the porch swing, and the porch furniture, they could stand a fresh coat of varnish as well.  So Rudy loaded two
      five-gallon buckets of varnish into Fred’s old pickup, and stuffed five $10 dollar bills into his own pocket.
       
      Fred’s truck bounced over the cattle guard into the driveway and for once in her life Birdie was pleased as punch to see Fred come home
      from Rudy’s.  She had groceries to buy and an appointment at the hairdresser’s for a permanent and needed the truck herself, and Fred had
      finally bought something at Rudy’s that wouldn’t wind up gathering dust in the shed.  She beamed as she made Fred’s lunch, telling him how
      happy she was that he was finally finding time to “take care of that little honey-do project and paint my porch, it’s such a pitiful
      sight.”  She kissed him lovingly on the cheek then climbed into the pickup and headed to town while Fred dug an assortment of brushes and
      pails out of the shed, preparing to varnish every unfinished stick of wood on the porch.  Which he did, and it was beautiful, too, drying
      to a high-gloss finish so shiny it looked like ice.  The job went quickly, Fred being nothing if not a hard worker, and he was finished
      with at least an hour to spare before Birdie returned from town.  Fred discovered he’d overestimated the amount of varnish he needed, and
      still had quite a bit left in the second bucket.  Still in a varnishing mood, he looked around for anything else that needed a quick coat.  
       
      After varnishing two trivets and an old ladder-back chair without a bottom, Fred’s eyes found the outhouse.  
       
      I never really understood why Fred and Birdie didn't put indoor plumbing in their farmhouse, but evidently they were satisfied with the
      two-holer that came with the place.  How it had withstood so many bitter winters and blazing summers was a testament to its builder’s
      skills and the quality of the wood he used.  Fred commented on that fact more than once, always saying something like "they just don’t
      build ‘em that way anymore," which was certainly true.  I didn’t know of anyone for miles around who had actually built any kind of
      outhouse in the past fifteen years, much less one that would stand as a monument to home carpentry.
       
      The outhouse had been painted long ago, so long ago that the color had been forgotten and now only naked wood faced the elements.  Fred
      reasoned a couple of coats of varnish would not only make the old outhouse look better than new, but they would further extend the privy's
      useful life for as long as he would have any interest in it.  The old pine boards were dry and drank up the varnish.  There was just a
      little left in the bucket, and not wanting to waste any of his bargain, Fred finished his afternoon of varnishing frenzy by applying a
      liberal coat to the seats.  There!  Wouldn't Birdie be pleased!
       
      Fred cleaned his brushes with paint thinner, wrapped them carefully in old rags, and stored them in the shed.  Then he went to the back
      porch, washed the varnish spatters off his hands and forearms, picked up the morning newspaper he hadn't finished at breakfast, and leaned
      back in his living room recliner to catch up on current world events.  All that work had left him pleasantly weary, however, and inside of
      ten minutes he was snoring peacefully, headlines across his stomach.  While he was asleep, Birdie came home.
       
      Birdie came in the back door to the kitchen, but she'd already seen the front porch with its new coat of varnish.  That "polly-thing"
      varnish made the wood look, well, so shiny, she sighed, but at least it was done and looked  much better than before.  She put away her
      groceries, set her pocketbook on the shelf in the bedroom closet, checked her new permanent once more in the dresser mirror, then walked
      out the back door to the outhouse.
       
      Fred awoke from his well-earned nap and immediately noticed it was nearly sundown.  He stood up, turned on a light, and checked his pocket
      watch.  Quarter of seven, Birdie should be home by now and supper should have been on the table a half-hour ago.  Fred shuffled into the
      kitchen, looked around, and saw no sign of Birdie.  Beginning to feel slightly alarmed, he looked out the window and saw the pickup truck
      parked exactly where it should be, under the carport, but still no Birdie.  He walked into their bedroom, looking for signs she'd come
      home, but saw nothing.  Her pocketbook...where did she keep it?  The closet, that's right...top shelf...next to the old hatbox.  Yes, it
      was there.  But, where was Birdie?  Fred was a man who counted on his woman's routine and predictable habits, and this was unsettling,
      finding she had been there and now was no where to be found.  He returned to the kitchen, stepped out the back door, and into the yard,
      just in case she was in the garden doing goodness knows what at this hour.  It was then that Fred heard the moans coming from the outhouse.
       
      Fred hurried to the source of the cries, and putting his mouth  close to the door called, "Bertie?  Hon, is that you?"  Now I don't know
      who else Fred would have expected to find in that outhouse, but I suppose the surprise of hearing that sad, mournful sound coming from its
      interior would make anyone pause before jumping to a conclusion.  
       
      "Oh, Fred!  Of course it's me!" Birdie cried out, "Fred!...ohhh, Fred, what have you done to me, Fred?"  It was Birdie's voice, all right,
      no doubt about that.
       
      "Bertie?  What's wrong?  Are you sick, baby?  Bertie, are you all right?"  Fred was now definitely alarmed.
       
      "Ohhh....ohhh lordy, Fred!  Why'd you do this to me?"  Birdie was becoming distraught.
       
      "Do?  Do what, Bertie?  Bertie...what's wrong?  Tell me, baby, what's wrong?"
       
      "Oh, Fred...I can't get up!  I...I'm stuck, Fred!  I'm stuck to the seat and I can't get up!"
       
      Fred's jaw dropped open with a look of utter shock on his face.  Couldn't get up?  Stuck to the seat?  Why, that was just plain imposs...  
       
      Fred's thoughts froze.  The polyurethane varnish!  The miracle varnish that dried fast to a hard, water-resistant finish and bonded to any
      porous surface!  Birdie had bonded herself to the outhouse seat!  "Bertie?  Hon, can you open the door?  Can you unlatch the door and open
      it?"
       
      "Oh, Fred, I can't move!  I tried to get up and nearly yanked my backside off!  Fred, I can't reach the latch!"  Birdie was starting to
      cry, now.  Fred had heard her cry only a few times in their long life together, and every time it broke his heart.  Only this time it was
      worse, because he'd caused it.  "Fred, lordy, please help me, Fred!"
       
      "Baby, I'm gonna try and break down the door!" Fred shouted through the crack between the door and the outhouse wall.  "You stand back out
      of the way!"
       
      "Fred I can't move myself off this seat!  How am I gonna stand anywhere!"  Birdie hollered.  Fred could tell she was really peeved because
      she never hollered unless her patience was just about gone.
       
      Fred put his shoulder into the door, but the door barely moved.  He tried again, harder this time, and got only a rattle from the latch.  
       
      "Fred, hurry!  Ohhh...Fred, I wanna get out of here!  Hurry, Fred, hurry!"  Birdie's cries gave him the extra adrenaline he needed, I
      suppose, for the next time he hit the outhouse door as hard as he could and broke the latch.  The door swung open, and there was Birdie's
      tear-streaked face looking up at him.
       
      Now when Fred got to this part of the story, I admit I had to put my hand to my mouth to keep from smiling at the thought of Aunt Birdie
      sitting there in the dark outhouse, varnished solidly to the seat, but when Fred looked down at the only woman he'd ever loved in his whole
      life I know there was nothing but anguish on his face.
       
      He grabbed her hand and forearm and said, "Baby, I'll get you up from there!" and at the same time, he lifted.
      "OOOHHHHH!  Fred, don't!  You're pullin' the hide right offa me!" Birdie shrieked.  "I'm plumb stuck to this thing, can't you see that?  If
      I could get loose I'd get up by myself!"
       
      Fred tried a different approach.  "Bertie, baby, I'm gonna lift your leg up just a little, to see if we can..."  
       
      He never got a chance to finish his sentence, for as soon as he touched her, Birdie wailed again, "Fred don't you move that leg!  I've been
      stuck here so long both legs have gone to sleep and they're hurtin' me something awful!  Oh, Fred, lordy, Fred, do something but don't
      touch my legs, Fred!"  Birdie had passed right by distraught and peeved and was now approaching panicky and downright mad.
       
      Fred stood there for a moment, not really knowing what to do, just knowing full well what not to do.  But once again, crisis situations
      bring out the fast thinker in even the slowest of minds, and if this wasn't a crisis situation then Fred had never in his life seen one.  
      "Bertie, I'm gonna call the doctor!  He'll come right out and get you off of that thing!  I'm going inside to call and I'll be right back,
      baby, you just sit there and I'll be right back!"  Where in the world Fred thought Birdie would go is a mystery to me, as it was to Birdie
      herself.  The look she gave his fast-retreating figure would have killed any other man dead in his tracks, but Fred doubtless had built up
      a resistance over the years and ran to the house unscathed.  He returned almost breathless after what must have been a five-minute eternity
      for Birdie.  Then they waited, Birdie firmly seated and Fred gently holding and stroking her hand.  There wasn't much to talk about.
       
      Doc Waller's old Chevy rattled over the cattle guard, down the drive, and into the back yard, its headlights aimed directly at the outhouse
      and its two occupants.  He stepped out, his black bag in his right hand, and walked forward.  "Good evenin' Fred...Bertie.  I got here just
      as soon as I could."  Doc Waller had dedicated his life to his patients in the little community and was on call at any hour.  I doubt he
      ever finished a meal at one sitting.  "Bertie, Fred tells me you've got yourself into quite a fix, here.  What seems to be the problem?"  
      The fact that Birdie was sitting in an outhouse with the door open and in the glare of automobile headlights was not lost on Doc Waller, he
      just always liked for his patients to have the opportunity to describe their ailments, however obvious they might be to him.  He said it
      helped them feel a bit more at ease in the examining room.  
       
      By now Birdie was exhausted from her ordeal, and her voice was quiet.  "Oh, Doc, I'm stuck to the seat.  I can't get up and Lord knows how
      I've tried but I nearly skinned myself doing it, and my legs have gone to sleep and, ooohhhh, I just want to get inside my own house and
      lie down..."  Her voice started to trail off into a sob, bless her heart.  
       
      Fred explained to Doc Waller how he thought this all came about, how he'd painted the porch and the swing and the outhouse and finally the
      outhouse seats with polyurethane varnish he'd got dirt cheap at Rudy's Railroad Salvage, and how Birdie had come in from town and not
      knowing any better, poor thing, she'd come out here and before she knew it, why, she was stuck tight as a tick to the fresh varnish.  Fred
      stopped to catch his breath and the doc just rubbed his jaw with his fingers and nodded slowly, as if he already had a solution to the
      problem.  "Fred, you have some turpentine?  And oil.  Any baby oil on the place?"
       
      Fred thought a moment.  "Uh..yeah...turpentine, got plenty of turp in the shed, Doc.  But, no, no baby oil.  Why would we have baby oil?"  
      That seemed a logical question to him, in spite of a sizable inventory of disposable diapers in the shed.  "I've got motor oil, and linseed
      oil, and...in the kitchen we've got cooking oil.  Won't any of that do?"
       
      The doc pulled off his hat and his coat, and began rolling up his shirtsleeves.  "Fred, bring me the turpentine, the cooking oil, and
      plenty of cotton rags.  Let's get to work, here," Doc replied.
       
      The work was tedious and slow.  Doc would pour a little turpentine onto a cloth and dab it on the area where Birdie's anatomy was varnished
      to the seat.  Birdie would yell as the turpentine stung her abused skin, ashen-faced Fred would hold and pat her hand, saying, "There,
      baby, it's comin' loose, everything's gonna be all right, hon," and Doc would swab Birdie and the seat with Wesson Oil to keep her from
      sticking again to the still-tacky varnish.  It took two hours of dabbing, yelling, patting and swabbing, but at last, Birdie was free.  
       
      Fred and Doc helped her to her feet, which prompted more crying as her legs started regaining their natural color and feeling, and helped
      her waddle into the house.  Doc cleaned Birdie up with soap and water while Fred banged about in the kitchen making her some tea to calm
      her nerves.  By 10:30 the ordeal was over.
       
      Birdie slept on her stomach for the rest of the week.  Fred was contrite, waiting on her hand and foot, never really able to say out loud
      how ashamed and sorry he was for what had happened, but by his actions Birdie knew.  Her backside healed quickly, thanks to the ointment
      Doc Waller had the pharmacy send over, and soon Birdie was sleeping on her back once again.  The story remained untold among the three of
      them for several years, but finally came out at a family gathering of some sort.  It became an instant classic, and had to be told every
      Thanksgiving or Fourth of July when we'd all finished that particular holiday's feast, still sinfully full of Birdie's home cooking.  Even
      after hearing it a dozen times it always made us kids laugh until we hurt.  Once Cousin Georgie laughed so hard the Dr. Pepper he was
      drinking came out his nose.  Uncle Fred would tell the story, and Aunt Birdie would always blush and poke him in the ribs when he got to
      the part about "her backside."  It seemed to sort of embarrass her for us kids to hear she had one.  As I grew older I laughed a little
      less, I suppose, but inside...well, inside I felt prouder.  These two wonderful people, sharing a lifetime of hard work and memories,
      sitting there telling us about it all, laughing at themselves, so much in love with each other.  It made me proud to belong to them.
       
      And that's why I just had to laugh out loud in the paint department at Home Depot.
       
       
    • By Duquesne Frog in Numbers Make Me Horned 0
      I never published this last week ...
       
      Overall
      1 Ohio St.  45.33 369.46 48.37 2 Michigan  44.75 287.27 43.94 3 Alabama  34.70 262.88 36.05 4 Clemson  32.25 276.10 35.06 5 Louisville  23.57 364.53 33.62 6 Virginia Tech  27.19 269.17 31.35 7 Mississippi  30.38 162.00 28.21 8 Oklahoma  25.21 223.21 27.77 9 Houston  27.71 155.67 26.12 10 Washington St.  22.67 216.22 25.73 11 Colorado  20.48 221.73 24.54 12 LSU  20.25 200.10 23.33 13 Miami (FL)  23.61 136.03 22.42 14 Tennessee  24.00 126.65 22.22 15 Texas A&M  23.52 101.96 20.69 16 Florida St.  15.69 195.46 20.06 17 Maryland  20.72 110.97 19.27 18 Wisconsin  21.88 91.08 19.06 19 Oregon  17.42 147.60 18.86 20 Boise St.  15.42 146.42 17.47 21 W. Michigan  19.21 91.21 17.29 22 Washington  23.83 9.58 16.36 23 N.C. State  11.89 170.56 16.30 24 UCF  13.31 136.10 15.56 25 Auburn  13.97 122.03 15.31 26 Florida  14.77 91.40 14.33 27 TCU  9.08 162.67 14.05 28 West Virginia  13.94 80.11 13.23 29 Stanford  17.31 22.73 12.66 30 Northwestern  17.71 13.48 12.47 31 Air Force  12.94 77.56 12.44 32 Baylor  8.92 109.04 11.30 33 Troy  14.19 35.40 11.20 34 Oklahoma St.  9.08 94.00 10.67 35 BYU  8.37 92.10 10.10 36 Nebraska  12.57 34.63 10.08 37 UCLA  8.87 77.23 9.70 38 Michigan St.  3.64 143.69 9.48 39 Georgia Tech  10.67 30.65 8.62 40 Toledo  1.86 147.17 8.47 41 Kansas St.  11.89 5.44 8.19 42 Army  7.77 53.65 7.82 43 Southern Miss  3.21 90.90 6.60 44 USC  5.18 62.20 6.51 45 Indiana  1.08 111.02 6.18 46 Texas  -0.02 113.10 5.54 47 Texas Tech  4.67 44.44 5.29 48 South Florida  7.75 -3.08 5.02 49 Memphis  13.00 -74.94 4.99 50 California  1.60 79.50 4.97 51 Mississippi St.  4.60 29.67 4.53 52 East Carolina  -7.33 168.23 3.37 53 Arkansas  4.71 -4.21 2.93 54 West. Kentucky  1.65 25.06 2.33 55 Tulsa  -1.56 66.22 2.22 56 Navy  2.83 -0.44 1.87 57 Arizona  2.35 5.35 1.83 58 Arizona St.  4.75 -33.94 1.50 59 Louisiana Tech  0.23 25.29 1.40 60 Utah  -1.71 51.06 1.37 61 Wake Forest  4.67 -37.46 1.27 62 Appalachian State 4.22 -38.82 0.90 63 Penn St.  2.92 -27.15 0.61 64 Cincinnati  -2.29 41.67 0.52 65 Iowa  7.50 -97.33 0.22 66 Cent. Michigan  -2.50 36.92 0.15 67 Georgia  -1.23 8.27 -0.41 68 Notre Dame  -1.97 17.50 -0.45 69 Boston Coll.  -2.79 15.04 -1.12 70 Missouri  -2.67 8.17 -1.38 71 Rutgers  1.25 -63.54 -2.29 72 Temple  -0.69 -37.81 -2.32 73 Kentucky  -2.03 -38.85 -3.26 74 North Carolina  -2.88 -28.21 -3.30 75 Iowa St.  -2.92 -36.67 -3.75 76 Vanderbilt  0.62 -103.90 -4.69 77 South Alabama -1.63 -74.42 -4.74 78 Pittsburgh  -3.23 -67.71 -5.48 79 San Diego St.  -3.28 -69.72 -5.61 80 Miami (OH)  -10.67 10.67 -6.59 81 Virginia  -6.08 -56.50 -6.83 82 Syracuse  -7.98 -46.15 -7.59 83 Georgia Southern -7.17 -59.61 -7.71 84 Duke  -7.48 -56.29 -7.75 85 Utah St.  -10.29 -25.79 -8.13 86 Old Dominion -10.19 -42.17 -8.86 87 Connecticut  -7.46 -104.25 -10.09 88 Illinois  -8.72 -90.22 -10.25 89 LA Lafayette  -12.23 -54.63 -10.84 90 Wyoming  -6.54 -136.23 -11.05 91 Tulane  -7.42 -124.83 -11.08 92 South Carolina  -8.25 -139.93 -12.37 93 Northern Illinois  -11.21 -109.42 -12.85 94 Oregon St.  -12.00 -100.00 -12.91 95 Middle Tenn. St.  -12.67 -99.17 -13.32 96 Massachusetts -11.63 -116.88 -13.50 97 SMU  -15.75 -64.83 -13.68 98 Minnesota  -12.19 -130.50 -14.54 99 Purdue  -19.06 -48.17 -15.07 100 Hawaii  -17.19 -82.02 -15.49 101 Ball St.  -15.08 -124.67 -16.18 102 Colorado St.  -16.17 -112.83 -16.32 103 Ohio  -18.35 -99.88 -17.14 104 Georgia State -11.21 -203.40 -17.46 105 UTEP  -26.08 -23.63 -18.55 106 Kent St.  -20.42 -132.94 -20.14 107 Idaho  -17.46 -177.54 -20.36 108 Arkansas St.  -21.64 -126.47 -20.64 109 Rice  -16.60 -207.60 -21.26 110 Marshall  -19.86 -183.47 -22.25 111 Fresno St.  -23.79 -135.15 -22.50 112 New Mexico St.  -26.03 -105.65 -22.54 113 Kansas  -20.28 -186.28 -22.67 114 Florida Intl.  -23.45 -145.05 -22.76 115 New Mexico  -28.00 -85.28 -22.86 116 UT-San Antonio -17.78 -228.00 -23.05 117 UNLV  -25.08 -129.02 -23.06 118 Buffalo  -18.67 -223.67 -23.43 119 Akron  -18.06 -280.25 -25.81 120 Florida Atlantic  -24.65 -203.48 -26.43 121 Bowling Green  -30.42 -142.00 -27.25 122 UNC-Charlotte -33.54 -113.10 -27.92 123 North Texas  -23.06 -283.92 -29.32 124 East. Michigan  -32.25 -170.92 -29.90 125 Texas St. -25.78 -264.89 -30.20 126 Nevada  -28.31 -239.58 -30.64 127 San Jose St.  -34.50 -169.04 -31.30 128 LA Monroe  -33.03 -241.17 -33.86  
      By Conf
      AAC         9 Houston  27.71 155.67 26.12 24 UCF  13.31 136.10 15.56 48 South Florida  7.75 -3.08 5.02 49 Memphis  13.00 -74.94 4.99 52 East Carolina  -7.33 168.23 3.37 55 Tulsa  -1.56 66.22 2.22 56 Navy  2.83 -0.44 1.87 64 Cincinnati  -2.29 41.67 0.52 72 Temple  -0.69 -37.81 -2.32 87 Connecticut  -7.46 -104.25 -10.09 91 Tulane  -7.42 -124.83 -11.08 97 SMU  -15.75 -64.83 -13.68
      ACC
       
      4
      Clemson  32.25 276.10 35.06 5 Louisville  23.57 364.53 33.62 6 Virginia Tech  27.19 269.17 31.35 13 Miami (FL)  23.61 136.03 22.42 16 Florida St.  15.69 195.46 20.06 23 N.C. State  11.89 170.56 16.30 39 Georgia Tech  10.67 30.65 8.62 61 Wake Forest  4.67 -37.46 1.27 69 Boston Coll.  -2.79 15.04 -1.12 74 North Carolina  -2.88 -28.21 -3.30 78 Pittsburgh  -3.23 -67.71 -5.48 81 Virginia  -6.08 -56.50 -6.83 82 Syracuse  -7.98 -46.15 -7.59 84 Duke  -7.48 -56.29 -7.75 B1G
       
      1
      Ohio St.  45.33 369.46 48.37 2 Michigan  44.75 287.27 43.94 17 Maryland  20.72 110.97 19.27 18 Wisconsin  21.88 91.08 19.06 30 Northwestern  17.71 13.48 12.47 36 Nebraska  12.57 34.63 10.08 38 Michigan St.  3.64 143.69 9.48 45 Indiana  1.08 111.02 6.18 63 Penn St.  2.92 -27.15 0.61 65 Iowa  7.50 -97.33 0.22 71 Rutgers  1.25 -63.54 -2.29 88 Illinois  -8.72 -90.22 -10.25 98 Minnesota  -12.19 -130.50 -14.54 99 Purdue  -19.06 -48.17 -15.07 Big XII
       
      8
      Oklahoma  25.21 223.21 27.77 27 TCU  9.08 162.67 14.05 28 West Virginia  13.94 80.11 13.23 32 Baylor  8.92 109.04 11.30 34 Oklahoma St.  9.08 94.00 10.67 41 Kansas St.  11.89 5.44 8.19 46 Texas  -0.02 113.10 5.54 47 Texas Tech  4.67 44.44 5.29 75 Iowa St.  -2.92 -36.67 -3.75 113 Kansas  -20.28 -186.28 -22.67 CUSA
       
      43
      Southern Miss  3.21 90.90 6.60 54 West. Kentucky  1.65 25.06 2.33 59 Louisiana Tech  0.23 25.29 1.40 86 Old Dominion -10.19 -42.17 -8.86 95 Middle Tenn. St.  -12.67 -99.17 -13.32 105 UTEP  -26.08 -23.63 -18.55 109 Rice  -16.60 -207.60 -21.26 110 Marshall  -19.86 -183.47 -22.25 114 Florida Intl.  -23.45 -145.05 -22.76 116 UT-San Antonio -17.78 -228.00 -23.05 120 Florida Atlantic  -24.65 -203.48 -26.43 122 UNC-Charlotte -33.54 -113.10 -27.92 123 North Texas  -23.06 -283.92 -29.32 INDIES
       
      35
      BYU  8.37 92.10 10.10 42 Army  7.77 53.65 7.82 68 Notre Dame  -1.97 17.50 -0.45 96 Massachusetts -11.63 -116.88 -13.50 MAC
       
      21
      W. Michigan  19.21 91.21 17.29 40 Toledo  1.86 147.17 8.47 66 Cent. Michigan  -2.50 36.92 0.15 80 Miami (OH)  -10.67 10.67 -6.59 93 Northern Illinois  -11.21 -109.42 -12.85 101 Ball St.  -15.08 -124.67 -16.18 103 Ohio  -18.35 -99.88 -17.14 106 Kent St.  -20.42 -132.94 -20.14 118 Buffalo  -18.67 -223.67 -23.43 119 Akron  -18.06 -280.25 -25.81 121 Bowling Green  -30.42 -142.00 -27.25 124 East. Michigan  -32.25 -170.92 -29.90 MWC
       
      20
      Boise St.  15.42 146.42 17.47 31 Air Force  12.94 77.56 12.44 79 San Diego St.  -3.28 -69.72 -5.61 85 Utah St.  -10.29 -25.79 -8.13 90 Wyoming  -6.54 -136.23 -11.05 100 Hawaii  -17.19 -82.02 -15.49 102 Colorado St.  -16.17 -112.83 -16.32 111 Fresno St.  -23.79 -135.15 -22.50 115 New Mexico  -28.00 -85.28 -22.86 117 UNLV  -25.08 -129.02 -23.06 126 Nevada  -28.31 -239.58 -30.64 127 San Jose St.  -34.50 -169.04 -31.30 PAC12
       
       
      10
      Washington St.  22.67 216.22 25.73 11 Colorado  20.48 221.73 24.54 19 Oregon  17.42 147.60 18.86 22 Washington  23.83 9.58 16.36 29 Stanford  17.31 22.73 12.66 37 UCLA  8.87 77.23 9.70 44 USC  5.18 62.20 6.51 50 California  1.60 79.50 4.97 57 Arizona  2.35 5.35 1.83 58 Arizona St.  4.75 -33.94 1.50 60 Utah  -1.71 51.06 1.37 94 Oregon St.  -12.00 -100.00 -12.91 SBC
       
      33
      Troy  14.19 35.40 11.20 62 Appalachian State 4.22 -38.82 0.90 77 South Alabama -1.63 -74.42 -4.74 83 Georgia Southern -7.17 -59.61 -7.71 89 LA Lafayette  -12.23 -54.63 -10.84 104 Georgia State -11.21 -203.40 -17.46 107 Idaho  -17.46 -177.54 -20.36 108 Arkansas St.  -21.64 -126.47 -20.64 112 New Mexico St.  -26.03 -105.65 -22.54 125 Texas St. -25.78 -264.89 -30.20 128 LA Monroe  -33.03 -241.17 -33.86 SEC
       
      3
      Alabama  34.70 262.88 36.05 7 Mississippi  30.38 162.00 28.21 12 LSU  20.25 200.10 23.33 14 Tennessee  24.00 126.65 22.22 15 Texas A&M  23.52 101.96 20.69 25 Auburn  13.97 122.03 15.31 26 Florida  14.77 91.40 14.33 51 Mississippi St.  4.60 29.67 4.53 53 Arkansas  4.71 -4.21 2.93 67 Georgia  -1.23 8.27 -0.41 70 Missouri  -2.67 8.17 -1.38 73 Kentucky  -2.03 -38.85 -3.26 76 Vanderbilt  0.62 -103.90 -4.69 92 South Carolina  -8.25 -139.93 -12.37  
      TCU Week-to-week
        Ark ISU SMU OU   3.33 18.33 17.00 -2.33   258.33 74.33 258.00 60.00   14.91 15.87 24.01 1.39  
       
               
    • By old scribe in old scribe's Blog 5
      This day, August 13, was my mother's birthday. She would be 106 today. Got to thinking, as us old codgers can do, about the lives preceding mine. Mama's lifetime (she lived to almost 87) saw her go from the horse-and-wagon era (she was born under a wagon near Kimball's Bend down in Bosque County in 1910) to the age of jets and computers. She went through the depression, 2 world wars plus Korea and Nam. She went to Germany for Oktoberfest.. She was a widow the last 38 years of her life. She was an excellent writer with a terrific imagination and sense of humor. l can recall years back when she heard ``I wonder who's kissing her now" on the radio and remarked, ``Where exactly is her `now'?" The Dallas News moved her from the state desk to what was then still ``women's news" because the sweet young things in that dept. were letting too many double-meaning things get by. Mama was a farm girl with a liberal education and could catch that stuff. She probably never castrated a calf, but surely had seen it done and knew how. She could have made the Olympics if crossword puzzle solving were an event. I still miss her.
       
      Think back to her parents,born in the 1880s. As children, and even young adults, they had virtually nothing that we take for granted -- cars, telephones, indoor plumbing, you name it. I remember in the late 1940s at their farm house, the phone would ring and Gran would say, ``Don't answer, that is Kleins' ring." Unless you wanted to listen on Kleins' conversation. Party lines were something else. She was a champ at wringing a chicken's neck, plucking it, cutting it up and frying it. All the way from chicken yard to dining table. Let Col. Sanders try that. When my grandmother was in her late 60s she got the most wonderful gift: A cream separator so she wouldn't have to churn so much. I miss her, too, even if she did think enemas were the cure for almost anything a little boy might have.
       
       
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