CFB '23 - Week 8 Preview

Arborist-as-metaphor in the thick pine forest of the 2023 CFB competition, while James Franklin manipulates Lou Holtz into taunting Ryan Day from mid-air during the final moments of Ohio State-Penn State

CFB '23 - Week 8 Preview

Hog-Tied Lou Holtz, And What I Saw In The Woods

Welcome To The Second Half

  • Penn State-Ohio State, Tennessee-Bama, Utah-USC Highlight Chunky 13-Game Card
  • Arborist-As-Metaphor In The Thick Pine Forest Of The 2023 CFB Contest
  • Lou Holtz Taunting Ryan Day From The Sky
  • Three Contestants In 11,000+ Range, Three In 8,000-9,000 Range

What I Saw In The Woods

The Commish took between midday Sunday and midday Wednesday off from the Onion-y rat race. We are, after all, just at the contest’s halfway point. It is a natural time to reflect, to consider the future, to ponder what number one might open Washington State-Oregon at. I went to the woods.

There is a cabin on the waters of a lake. A few acres. The property is in so-so shape. What cabin isn’t? What it contains in charm and remoteness it also contains in arboreal neglect.

A battalion of tree specialists came by one of the days to take down some of the snags. This was about 25 years in the making. Routine maintenance for some. Momentous in the Commish household.

Now, my immediate family, with what one could call extremely selective passions for the property, would have micromanaged the execution of the tree-cutting to the extent that, if we had wanted to be repeat customers in the future, the arborists would likely have declined.

So, in spite of my own apprehensions — namely, what if one of these big mothers falls in the wrong direction? Micro-managing is the example I was raised with, shouldn’t I go titter about something? — I did what I could internally to project the opposite aura. I did my own silent version of the Mike Gundy “I’m 40,” rant. We all become our parents, right? Well not to-day! Take that, DNA!

I’m sure it wasn’t successful. Most times you try to cook up a deliberate aura in the aura kitchen and then serve that aura outward to aura-ingesting customers, you flicker like a fool in-and-out of character. Who are you, Daniel Day Lewis? You’re method, now?

No, you’re average. And you won’t pull it off.

With the all-afternoon whirring of twin Stihl 500’s piercing the cold weekday lake air, with the shoulders in slight anticipatory hunch of the once-every-30-minutes thundering hollow slap-crash of what was once a comely 70-foot ponderosa, with the mediocre aura cooking, “reflection” just wasn’t happening.

Unable to beat them, I had to join them.

In The Sling Of Things

When I walked over to the felling site, the first thing I saw was our boy in six-foot tall brush ripping a heater and pulling on the longest rope I’ve ever seen.

He muttered something about wanting to buy a workshop of his own from an old widow. He was a dead ringer for Zoot from the Muppets. Here is Zoot.

The rope was connected to another cable that was connected to a throw-weight that had been wrapped around the tree’s upper limbs and dangled vertically down the other side. It was a giant ponderosa.

The cable slipped off the limb at one point and had to be re-attached.

Wait a minute, I thought, how did they get the cable up there in the first place? Did they climb that up there?

At which point something that looked like largest garden hoe of all time emanated from Zoot’s bag. Its upper element contained a sling-shot.

I asked him what that implement was called, hoping for some inside-arborist nomenclature — oh, that’s our ramrocket, or, oh that, that’s the bishwicker, or some such thing.

“S’just a slingshot, man. Ya know?” He looked at me with acquisitive eyes.

And without even looking at the tree trop some 130 feet away, he cocked the throw-weight and slung it, heater still engaged, and landed it right over the trop branch.

Between his pulling and his partner’s sawing, a minute later they landed the sucker on the ground in a tiny window.

The hollow slap-crash sounded. The brush where Zoot had been standing was destroyed.

There are giants like David Carl. They tower over people and seem indomitable. They start to form part of the landscape of a whole area. Then they rot and die. They still stand but they need to be overtaken and pulled down to the depths by the people beneath them.

These people, nay, Warriors, double-nay, Contestants, take bold measures to do this. Sometimes it takes a team of them. Even though it might seem like they can’t, a few slingshot attempts, maybe a few all-ins, will get them right there. And this process repeats itself not only through nature, not only through the existence of human life, but in our very contest too.

We are now deep in this thing together. Remaining weeks will trickle to days. But they are, at this moment, still weeks.

Do not forget the parable of Zoot and the Slingshot. Hold firm and take heart.

It is easier to take down an Old Ponderosa than you might think.

Hog-Tied Lou Holtz, And What To Expect In Penn State-Ohio State

We’ll get in a second to the man in the above photo whom, upon physical contact with the past President, immediately Mitch McConnells himself into the void of oblivion.

But first we turn to Franklin-Day.

Franklin-Day sounds like a vaguely religious Division Three school in western Pennsylvania, or like a holiday designed to celebrate Benjamin Franklin, who like the Populus was a true degenerate but unlike the Populus (or maybe not?) had a proclivity for extremely devious coital acts.

It is in fact the coaching matchup for Week 8’s most anticipated game, Penn State-Ohio State, in which the Buckeyes sit as a not-very-popular four-point favorite in Columbus.

Now, we all know James Franklin’s preferred method of trolling consists of running up the score at the end of a game, often in an effort to cover the spread. Well, possibly. That’s actually a really serious allegation. Let’s not serve a mess that we can’t clean up.

But that hairless bespectacled freak has the glint in his eyes that says he went way too far with pranks in middle school, that maybe he really hurt some kids. Like, he orchestrated the tazing of someone’s balls at some point and he nearly felt bad about it, these sorts of levels of early psychosis.

There we go with the unfounded allegations again.

Anyway, we defy you to consider new ways that Franklin can troll away when his team beats Ohio State outright this week.

Here’s an idea to get the juices flowing:

For example, he could hire a type of banner-flying plane, except in the form of a helicopter that doesn’t fly as much as it hovers over Ohio Stadium. From its bowels will be berthed a hog-tied Lou Holtz, incapacitated, slowly lowered toward the ground on one of Zoot’s (callback) long ropes.

At first he’s shouting his usual maxims about hard work, toughness, faith, maybe he’s throws in an encomium for Ovaltine somewhere along the way down, and pretty soon even Coach Day himself, the now infamous Holtz provocatuer, in the midst of a tight one in the fourth quarter, even he can’t ignore the pirouetting Holtz about 10 feet in the air above his own head — fans have been livid at the descent for several minutes, attempting to warn Day — endorsing margarine over butter, explaining that you can’t really know Notre Dame if you’ve never been there, asking if someone can throw him the pigskin.

Day can’t coach and deal with this at the same time. As is the case with anyone who looks like they belong in a Duluth Trading Co., commercial, defending his manhood is more important than his actual job. He throws off the headset, and shouts skyward.

“What do you want, Holtz!?”

“Ishh time to rumble, Day.” Holtz is still rotating slowly in place and currently isn’t looking at Day. It’s very loud beneath the helicopter. “Let me down b’fore I wee myself.”

“You think we aren’t tough enough? Look who’s so tough now!” Day cajoles his players and staff into jeering Holtz.

“You all think I’m some sortta Mess-i-ah? You’ll see who getssk the last laughhff, Day.”

“What was that, Lou? It’s very loud down here with the 80,000 fans and the helicopter, I couldn’t quite catch that?”

As Lou repeats himself, on the opposite sideline, his team down two points at Ohio State’s 20 yard line, on fourth down, with 30 seconds left to go, Franklin cooks up the cover play.

A field goal?


Peyton Aller hikes the ball, drops back to pass right but then runs the Statue of Liberty to Nick Singleton, who nearly squanders a wide open path to the end zone when, at the three yard line, he stands stock still, noticing Sweet Lou in mid-air for the first time. Only forward momentum carries him into the end zone. The game ends.

Franklin’s head pops up from a lower, flat-surfaced sideline bench, he brushes his nose vigorously, and lets out a primal scream.

Hours later, the lights in the stadium shut off, Buckeye fans drunk and despondent in the back alleyways of Columbus, only the whirring of the helicopter remains. And Lou. Still lightly rotating in place, basting in the moonlight like a cooked chicken, hog-tied beneath the helicopter that delivered Franklin’s most epic troll yet.

A Bizarre Announcement That Contains Truth

In an effort to sound like a cross between Joel Osteen and an Amway salesman:

“You’ve already given so much, you’ve given so much that it hurts, but the Jesus of Onions needs you to give a little more, because we’re here to tell you that the best is yet to come.

That’s right the best is yet to come… in the form of multiple new Onions competitions across in 2024. Not only across college basketball, but yes, even more sports. Onions is innovating into new frontiers of Onionship. And we want you along for the ride.

But we can’t do any of that unless you look within your heart today to send us more money.”

Give until it hurts, folks.

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