Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham are play-by-play Hepatitis Chow Mein with a side of General Tso's Special Suck. Like a meal at Panda Express, I knew it would be bad, but it was the only thing available. Can't the LHN just get a standard, cold order of mediocre announcing fare? I didn't consent to recreating a scene from the Alien franchise in my large intestines.
I don't mean to suggest that this duo was totally detached from the action on the field, but if Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham were asked to color commentate the Zapruder film, they'd offer that Woodrow Wilson had just been stabbed somewhere in Houston.
They spent much of the game leafing through a 1994 Texas media guide, questioning our current assumptions about concepts of linear measurement, and chirping out various football wisdoms from the ad section of a weathered 1958 copy of Boy's Life magazine.
Otto Graham slays the dames with the clean, refreshing taste of Parliament cigarettes! Daje Bergegray on that carry!
They made some small errors.
Gary Adams Saves The Day!
A wide receiver named "Adams" joined the Longhorn team in the 2nd quarter, making several Cyclone tacklers miss on a key third down. Was Mike Patrick confusing wide receiver Mike Davis (who already had three catches, including a long touchdown) with former Longhorn wideout Mike Adams? Mid-1990s Mike Adams? #83. So many Mikes, all so alike.
Do you guys remember when the great Michael Dell hit that push-off fadeaway jump shot to beat the Utah Jazz?
In the 3rd quarter, Mike Patrick called Johnathan Gray - "Gary."
Those People All Look Alike
Running backs, I mean.
Patrick struggled to tell Joe Bergeron, Daje Johnson, Malcolm Brown, and Johnathan Gray apart for four quarters despite 50 pounds of variation, very distinct individual running styles, and the services of a paid network spotter who helpfully yells out the name of the runner on each play so that the announcer dolt can spend his Friday nights leering at Bennigans' servers instead of learning the names of college football players. Their job is to repeat the name echoing in their earpiece and then add a verb or adjective. "GRAY! A tough, slashing run!"
Also, there is the nagging fact that the numbers 24, 27, 28 and 32 look...I dunno...what's the word I'm struggling for here - distinct.
Ed Questions Your Eurocentric Linearity Constructs
Color man Ed Cunningham demonstrated the depth perception of a blue jay dry humping a sliding glass door when he spent ten minutes elaborating how Jaxon Shipley had thrown David Ash an illegal forward pass on an exciting double pass gadget out of the Wishbone formation. A moving tribute to the legendary Darrell K Royal.
There are many aspects of this play worthy of ten minutes of commentary. Perhaps a remembrance of the beloved coach, for whom the stadium is named. Perhaps even meandering into a discussion of the wishbone's era of dominance. Kudos to an extremely cool play design. Or one could simply offer some standard announcing hokum,"Oooo-weeee, pardnas, strap yourselves in for some rock 'em, sock 'em American football!"
Ed Cunningham proved no slave to announcing convention. Cunningham boldly refused to use helpful orienting crutches such as the large letters spelling LONGHORNS in the end zone, the large white powdery parallel lines denoting some sort of measurement system (if only there were a discernible pattern!), and our shared assumptions of dimensional linearity.
It would seem that a player standing above the lettering near the massively distinct white line throwing to another standing on the letters well behind the massively distinct line would not be throwing the ball in front of himself but rather behind, but Cunningham was unpersuaded and pressed for a less rigid interpretation of space/time despite the thirty seven replays demonstrating that he was wrong.
If you're ever climbing Mt Everest with Ed Cunningham as your expedition leader and he tells you that the peak is but a few steps away and to pack light summer casual, rest assured that you're at around 4,000 feet, probably just leaving a lowland village, and you and your sherpa will increase your survivability quotient by 1,000% by slaughtering Ed with an ice axe and feeding him to snow apes.
David Ash, Struggling!
You know the internet threads where a pack of fat mouth-breathers dissect various gorgeous women in the public eye and they conclude that Kate Upton "is a 7 at best?" Well, I found announcing's answer to that thread.
If you had only Cunningham and Patrick to guide you, no visuals, and no down and distance or yardage information related, you'd be convinced that David Ash struggled against Iowa State. While going 24 of 31 for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions on a day with 30 mile per hour wind gusts. But that's just context.
First, there was lots of talk of QB controversy. Much description of McCoy valor. Standard announcer babble.
But the nit-picking was incessant and amusing.
A few notable instances:
- On one fairly impressive play, David Ash broke from the pocket, ran through a Cyclone defender, recovered, shrugged off the same guy again, kept his eyes downfield, and then threw a nice little check down for good yardage. Cunningham's take-away from this display of physicality and poise was that Ash should have run the ball. "The coaches don't want that from Ash!"
Yes, they do.
- Cunningham tutted Ash for a flawless 61 yard touchdown on a post route to Mike Davis that hit Davis in stride at the end of his extended fingertips at a perfect post angle to pull away from his defender. When the replay showed the perfect throw again, he offered a grudging "Well, alright."
- Cunningham takes issue with Ash for slightly overthrowing a WR in the end zone on a corner route emphasizing that this was "the worst possible place you could throw that ball." Good information, despite the fact that the entire intent of the play is to be caught right at the boundary or fall safely incomplete. The worst place it could land would be in the defender's hands. Or thrown straight up into the air while Ash yells out, "Smear the Queer!"
- David Ash fumbled! A football! While running for yards! Stripped from behind on a great hustle play by the ISU defender, to be exact. In a tackle football game! Ed Cunningham was having none of it. IT WAS INEXCUSABLE. JUST INEXCUSABLE! YOU MUST SECURE THAT BALL! BE MORE AWARE! LIVES ARE AT STAKE, YOU RECKLESS BELTON SHOWBOAT!
- Jaxon Shipley had a great day (8 catches, 137 yards), making several acrobatic catches in coverage. David Ash threw those passes fearlessly and decisively, if not always perfectly. Early on, Cunningham decided that Shipley was Lance Alworth crossed with Randy Moss and that Ash was a maniac. Except that a simple scout (or reading my preview) would tell you that Iowa State had corners that are 5-7 and 5-9, respectively. Neither has an interception on the season and they both have poor ball skills. Worth mentioning to explain Ash's confident aggression? NAH!
What Madman Would Go For 4th and 1?
On the Longhorn opening drive of the second half, with 3rd and 9 at the ISU 20 yard line, leading 20-7, David Ash hits Marquise Goodwin, who can't complete the catch, just shy of the sticks. Texas kicks a field goal. Cunningham assures viewers "that the play didn't matter, because it would have still have been 4th down!"
It would have been 4th and 1. On the ISU 12 yard line. Texas leading 20-7, moving the ball at will after racking up 300+ first half yards, with a shaky field goal kicker. There is no facepalm photo on the internet that suffices. We wouldn't have kicked that, you buffoon.
Someone Took Our Seniors!
Mike Patrick made sure to mention that "Texas has only three seniors in the entire program." He then revisited the topic emphatically. "I don't mean starters, folks! I mean in the entire program! Only three seniors! That's unbelievable, folks! Three! What a young, young team! No wonder they started slow!"
Texas has ten scholarship seniors. All ten played in the game.
Hey, Colt You Got Demoted To Back-up QB Just Like Your Bro. So You Guys Have That In Common!
The gist of a question that sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards asked Colt McCoy.
I place this question just above Dean Blevins' sideline question during a Texas game in which he asked a young boy, the younger brother of a Texas player, whose mother had a long history with drugs, more or less: "What it felt like to be a crack baby?"