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Veteran ESPN commentator and college football personality Carroll Hoff "Beano" Cook passed away in his sleep on Thursday at the age of 81.
Cook began his career as the sports publicist for the University of Pittsburgh in 1956, and after many years in various roles with the Miami Dolphins, ABC and CBS, Beano joined ESPN in 1986. Known as the "Cardinal of College Football," Beano was recognized by fans and the sport as an insightful and candid commentator and earned the Bert McGrane Award in 2010, presented by the Football Writers of America "for outstanding contribution to the organization".
Over the course of his long career, Beano let his opinions fly with little of the restraint prevalent in reporting on college football today. (Except for, you know, The College Football Report.) He left us with some memorable one-liners as well:
The Big Ten is like Spain. Both have seen better days.
- Cook, 1982
The SEC is a jungle. It's like trying to survive Dunkirk.
- Cook, 1984
Argentina invaded the Falklands because they had ESPN, and the Argentines wanted to get the late scores.
- Cook, 1986
You only have to bat a thousand in two things: flying and heart transplants. Everything else you can go 4-for-5.
- Cook, 1988
You'll never have a 16-team playoff in college football. The most that could happen would be four teams in the next century. But after that, I'm dead, so who cares?'
- Cook, 1992
Cook loved college football and dedicated his life to the sport. He was unrestrained, impassioned, irreverent, and possessed a sense of the game's history few could express.
As his health was failing him, he left a parting quote in one of his last interviews:
A fall Saturday afternoon in late October, the leaves are now on the ground . . . I think if God comes back and plans to attend one game, it won't be the Super Bowl.
This weekend, the Chicken likes:
Tennessee at #19 Mississippi State (-3), 9:00PM
#4 Florida (-8.5) at Vanderbilt, 6:00PM
#6 Kansas State at Iowa State (+7), 12:00PM
#3 South Carolina (+3) at #9 LSU, 8:00PM*
* No one seems to have any idea how this game will turn out. Both teams have phenomenal defenses (Gamecocks #4 in points allowed, Tigers #8). And as we know, defense wins championships. But as it happens, you also have to play offense and, from time to time, throw the ball in a downfield, for positive-yards fashion. LSU ranks #100 nationally in total passing yards and in last weekend's loss to tenth-ranked (at the time) Florida, QB Zach Mettenberger completed 11 of 25 for all of 158 yards, no TDs and one interception. We'll go with the Gamecocks
We can just imagine ESPN's Mark Schlereth describing the match-up: "South Carolina and LSU are football teams. And you know what football teams do? They play football."
The Sports Seal will go with:
#18 Louisville (-3) at Pittsburgh*, 11:00AM**
* This will be a football game.
** Why is this game so ridiculously early? That's 6AM Honolulu time! It's not even remotely close to luau hour. Who greenlighted this schedule?
Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.