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CURIOUS INDEX, 6/18/08

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It's not stealing signs if it's so dumb anyone can figure it out. Northwestern gigged their streak of upsets versus Michigan in the mid-90s the old-fashioned way: by learning Michigan's signs.

There was a guy on their sideline that day, and he had our signals down pat," Datz said. "Every time, he would scream into the defense what we're going to do — pass or run — and he was almost always right. ... They were blowing up draws, calling our counters and destroying our screen passes — all a big part of our plays that year.

In all fairness to Northwestern, most people in the stands watching a Lloyd Carr team could do the same based on formation, down, and distance. Stopping it, however, was an entirely different matter, and even if you frown on signal stealing to begin with, you must differentiate between garden variety sideline nabs and grandiose videotape espionage. To reiterate: "stealing signs" from a Carr team was hard not to do.

All he had to do was watch Michigan center Rod Payne, a one-handed snapper who apparently put his opposite hand on the ground for a running play and on his thigh for a passing play.

Michigan caught on thanks to some savvy spotting by ball boys, and ended up beating Northwestern 23-6 in 1997 once they figured it out and adapted. We'd love to say it had no effect on the outcome of the game, ho-hum, and thus let it pass...but the margin of victory in 1995 (19-13) and in 1996 (17-16) mean that signals really did make a difference. Pat Fitzgerald, linebacker for the Wildcats and current NW coach, wisely declined comment.

Sen'Derrick Marks, your next robotic slab of mechanical d-line evil from Auburn. Marks is becoming a leader, maturing, blah blah blah: the article fails to mention the fact he's going to be obstructive, nasty, and you know, standard operating procedure for Auburn defensive linemen. Meanwhile, Alabama's considering playing a 1-6-4 this year due to their, um, "strengths at linebacker."

Jay Paterno is not an economist. He admits as much on his blog on Barack Obama's site, since Jay's shockingly not endorsing the son of privilege in this election, a mightily ironic and bold move for a coach who got his job because his name is Jay Paterno, and not Jay Farkenblatt, or any other cocked-up last name you care to choose. He admits he's not an economist, something most of us should do, really. Unless you're an economist, of course, and if you are then you just keep laffer-curvin' along, you.

I am not an economist, but I can see and smell B.S. when I run across it.

You have to be an economist to smell...him?


I can smell victory and bourbon without a Ph.D., thank you very much.

Lloyd Carr is going to China. You know...staying busy, missing press conferences like a beekeeper misses being stung in the taint, watching political debates, you know...just being Lloyd.

The founder of the Liberty Bowl, A.F. "Bud" Dudley, is dead. Pay tribute to the AutoZone founder today by taking a dead battery to a local auto parts store, and then claim that it came that way, and you'd like a new one of an entirely different size and voltage.