Tuesday Tumble

My wonderful wife gave both of us quite the scare this morning. I woke up before 3 AM, which is not that unusual for me, but my wife also woke up around 3. We decided to go for a 4 AM breakfast drive-thru run to Starbucks.

After we returned, as we walked through the family room to the kitchen, my wife tripped and fell on the three stairs leading up from the family room. I didn’t see the fall, only heard her utter a profanity. She is okay; I think her pride is hurt more than anything else although she may have a bruise tomorrow on her leg above her knee. Oh, her Strawberry Açai drink spilled all over the kitchen floor.

While our house is not a split-level, technically, the kitchen and dining room sit on a “platform” three steps above the family room on one end and the living room on the other. Like I keep writing, it was the best house we could find in the 3-4 days we had to look last September. I think a move to a single-level house is in our future.


Given today’s post title I will simply remind everyone that Black Tuesday, the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 12% of its value, was October 29, 1929. The first General Manager for whom I worked in baseball was born days before Black Tuesday. As far as I know, he’s still alive. My best friend in our previous neighborhood was born months before Black Tuesday and I am 99.999% sure he’s still alive as we spoke last week.


Although the Facel Vega was “booted” out of Ultimate Garage 3.0 after being a part of 2.0, I am still a big fan of the car. This piece from the Facel Vega Car Club is about “a lot of action in the Facel market at the moment.” From the article, a picture of a rare Facel FV-1 cabriolet, or convertible:



Although famous people like Tony Curtis and Ringo Starr owned a Facel Vega, not enough were sold to keep Facel afloat. In case you don’t know, or even if you do, these were hybrids in the original use of the word in an automotive context as they had European coachwork, but an American engine–in this case a Chrysler Corporation V-8.






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Monday Musings 82

I was originally going to call today’s post “30 Z06 Months.” Today is 2 1/2 years since I took delivery of my Z06.

Thirty months is one more than I owned my previous car, a 2009 BMW Z4. Even though I have driven the Z06 more in Arizona than I did in the mid-Atlantic, unbelievably to me I have still not driven it as many miles as the BMW. I drove the Z4 8,500 miles in 29 months; I have put 7,800 miles on the Z06. Pictures of the cars in question:



I had a dream that was mainly disturbing until the end. Many of the details are lost to me now, but the gist of it was I was frantically preparing to take a trip. I realized I had to stop somewhere to pick up something important (my keys?) before I could depart and did not want to walk burdened by luggage through a huge crowd. Suddenly, I saw Dr. Zal and Dr. Hoss and they were there to help me with my endeavor. The sense of happiness and relief was overwhelming.

The two gentlemen in question are two very good friends whom I’ve known since elementary school. They have earned the moniker “Dr.” since they both have Ph.D. STEM degrees. I guess I’m the slacker since I only have an M.A. in Economics.


My two “favorite” NFL teams played very similar games yesterday. Both blew double-digit point leads on the road only to rally and win on a field goal on the last play of the game. I could not watch the Ravens game as it was not broadcast in this market. I did not watch the Packers game as my wonderful wife and I needed to do things around the house.

The Ravens win may have been more dramatic as they had to convert on a fourth down and 19 from their own 16-yard line before even getting into a position to attempt a field goal. Oh, the kick that won the game for them was the longest field goal in NFL history, 66 yards, and bounced off the crossbar before settling on the “good” side of it. This is the second time that Ravens’ kicker extraordinaire Justin Tucker has kicked a 60+ yard field goal to win a game for the Ravens in Detroit. He joked after the game that he might have to buy a house there.


A few days ago I did something unthinkable: I accidentally deleted all of the emails in my Inbox. While I only had about 35 emails in it–I like to file important ones in a few other folders and delete ones I don’t need–some of the deleted emails were important, like acknowledgments of estimated tax payments.

I don’t think anything like that could have happened to me even five years ago and certainly not 10 or 15. The incident is also a stark reminder that I will never be as comfortable or proficient on a small mobile device as I am on a desktop computer.


Once again, I welcome thoughtful comments from you, especially from those who regularly read this blog but have not commented before.






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Rainy Fall Sunday

As if to remind us that the official end of monsoon season is September 30th, we have been receiving rain since about 5 AM. A relevant photo, albeit not a great pic:



Obviously, the photo was taken indoors of an outdoor scene, which is probably a photography no-no. I wasn’t going to get wet and I think the raindrops on the window are a nice touch. Different strokes for different folks, DSFDF…

As we returned from breakfast, the display in my wonderful wife’s Corvette read 65° for the outside temperature. The respite from the heat is welcome and, hopefully, we have seen the last 100°+ day for awhile.


Perhaps it’s because I have admitted that I am on a long streak of continuous posting because I want to reach a yearly milestone in views before the end of September. Perhaps it’s because football season has started in earnest. Whatever the reason(s) the number of views and visitors have dropped dramatically in the last week.

People who are not reading are not going to see this and those who are may not want to read it. Once again, this is my blog. If I reach that milestone before September 30th I may take a few days off, but I may not. In any event, the lightning bolt I need for my blog to reach a much larger audience will almost certainly never happen.


OK, some photos most of you have come to expect from me:



Yep, that’s a not new Rolls-Royce with almost 4,000 miles and an asking price of about $350,000.



I really like these Maserati Gran Turismo cars. This one was very sharp in person. Speaking of Maserati, I was still unable to get an in-person look at the new MC20. Originally, I was told the shipment of eight cars would arrive in late summer. Yesterday, I was told production had only begun quite recently and that maybe the cars would be here in December.



I received numerous questions and compliments about my car at this event, far more than ever before. I am convinced the ZR1 wheels are the reason.

I welcome thoughtful comments. The “Big Five” commenters account for 85% of published comments that are not mine. While, of course, those five people add a lot to this blog, and while this is the usual pattern for such an endeavor (a small percentage of readers who actually comment), I am asking those of you who read on a regular or semi-regular basis, but who have not commented to consider offering your thoughts. We would all appreciate it. Thanks in advance.





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Many Thanks

Thanks to those of you who offered good thoughts after reading yesterday’s post. They are much appreciated.


This Hagerty piece is titled, “Will these 6 used cars be bonafide collectibles?” Although I almost certainly will never have any interest in the Chevrolet Colorado Diesel or the Volvo Polestar, these cars are interesting to me.


2019 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition

2020 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth front three-quarter


In case you don’t know, or even if you do, from top to bottom: Nissan 370Z, Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, Alfa Romeo 4C. Here are excerpts from the piece about each of these three cars:


“Considering many 350Zs were hot-rodded and turned into drift toys when they became affordable, the last of the 370Zs may a savvy pick to snap up before they meet a similar fate. Because the car was so dated in its golden years, Nissan wasn’t moving a lot of 370Z metal in its last few years of production, but as the saying goes, many sports car buyers won’t know what they’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”

“Naturally, the very similar 124 Abarth, built alongside the Miata in the same factory but with Fiat’s turbocharged, 1.4-liter Multi-Air four-cylinder turbo engine, maintains much of that same wonderful character and sharp handling…the Abarth was still an engaging drop-top that had a relatively short production run prior to its discontinuation following the 2020 model year. Even if it didn’t have pure Miata DNA, a relatively low-volume driver’s car is a good recipe to make an excellent collectible. When the answer you’re looking for is Miata with a turbo twist, the Abarth will start to look real good.”

“Now that they’re out of production…and there are few heirs to the throne of affordable mid-engine performance aside from the C8 Corvette, the 4C may hit the bottom of its depreciation curve. After all, when was the last time you could purchase a modern, mid-engine Italian car for the price of a full-size pickup?”


Hagerty has much data and much experience in determining car value, but this piece is still speculative. To be fair, the article is not a dogmatic prediction of the future. No one can really predict which vehicles will become “collectible,” whatever that means. I happen to think the modern Fiat 124 Spider is a gorgeous car. My wonderful wife and I test drove one and it’s a lot of fun with the top down, even on a 60-degree day, but like the MX-5/Miata it needs at least 50 more HP and 50 more LB-FT of torque.

The Alfa Romeo 4C has been written about and shown more than once in this blog. While I acknowledge its look is idiosyncratic (and I’m not a fan of the wheels), that’s a big plus in my book. Think about this car: given it’s powered by a 1.7 liter/107 cubic-inch (turbocharged) 4-cylinder engine and weighs only 2,500 pounds, it is rated 34 MPG on the highway. It will accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 4.1 seconds; the engine is rated at 237 HP/258 LB-FT of torque. Because of its light weight and mid-engine profile, its handling can be amazing with the right driver. Its performance profile is what the MX-5/124 Spider should have been.

Maybe it’s because we never had any children or maybe it’s an homage to my first car–a 1967 Pontiac GTO–but I have never been interested in sedans or pickup trucks or SUVs. I have owned a few of the latter for practical reasons, at least what I thought was practical at the time. Cars like the three shown here are what I crave. Hey, so many cars just one life.






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Life Intrudes, Sharply

Yesterday, my wonderful wife’s mother entered an in-patient hospice facility. Five months ago she was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic carcinoma. The primary cancer was almost certainly from her bout with breast cancer in 2016, which, sadly, was not her first battle with the disease.

My wife is, understandably, worried about her father. Her parents have been married 67 years. I am very worried about my wonderful wife. She is an only child and worships her mother.

Many of us have to deal with a situation like this, but I cannot imagine it’s ever anything less than gut-wrenching.


My writing “The terrorists have won” in this post was, obviously, premature. Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill providing funding for Israel’s Iron Dome DEFENSIVE system by an overwhelming vote of 420-9.

Three of the four disgusting members of the House known as “The Squad” were among the nine “No” votes. The fourth member, the one who some news outlets treat as the only important Representative among 435, voted “Present.”



I blame much of the news media for giving these four cretins so much exposure. I also think the media likes to use scare tactics about the damn virus in order to boost their ratings. This article from The Atlantic, written by Craig Spencer (an emergency-medicine physician and director of global health in emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center), reads in part:


“So let me make one thing clear: Vaccinated people are not as likely to spread the coronavirus as the unvaccinated. Even in the United States, where more than half of the population is fully vaccinated, the unvaccinated are responsible for the overwhelming majority of transmission…the single most important factor in spreading the coronavirus: To spread the coronavirus, you have to have the coronavirus. And vaccinated people are far less likely to have the coronavirus—period.

Among the unvaccinated, the virus travels unhindered on a highway with multiple off-ramps and refueling stations. In the vaccinated, it gets lost in a maze of dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs. Every so often, it pieces together an escape route, but in most scenarios, it finds itself cut off, and its journey ends. It can go no further.

This is borne out by recent data from New York City that show that more than 96 percent of cases are among the unvaccinated. Only 0.33 percent of fully vaccinated New Yorkers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.”


I don’t think this type of information is being disseminated in most of the news media. It’s not good for ratings. I also trust someone like Spencer infinitely more than any politician, entertainer or lay person.


On this day in 1948 the Honda Motor Company was incorporated. The company has gained at least as much notoriety for its motorcycles as for its cars, but it has produced two cars of which I think very highly. One was even a member of my Ultimate Garage 3.0.


See the source image

See the source image


The top picture, of course, is a Honda S2000, which was included in my Ultimate Garage 3.0. The bottom picture is the current generation Acura NSX; Acura is Honda’s “luxury” car make.

In my first blog, I posted an Ultimate Garage and a couple of readers were quite angry that I had not included the modern NSX. As I wrote then, I think very highly of the car, but not quite highly enough to have included it. Sadly in my opinion, the 2022 model year will be the last for this generation NSX. Who knows? It might be the last NSX, period.

Oh, I am indeed writing this post at a little after midnight local time. I cannot sleep despite my usual 5 mg of Melatonin. Life intrudes, sharply.








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Postscript: within minutes of publishing this post I had many views of the main blog link as well as this post. All of these views were from the US. It’s about 4:00 AM on the East Coast and about 1:00 AM here. Who’s reading at this hour?!



Threadless Thursday

I guess the readers of this blog do not want to read poetry. That’s OK, but this is my blog.


Once again, I am a little short on material today, but continue to post in hopes of reaching a yearly milestone for views before the end of September. Days with posts receive many more views than days without.

I am fasting this morning as I am having blood work done in about three hours. One of the tests will be a Hemoglobin A1C (a measure of average blood glucose level over the last three months) ordered by an endocrinologist, not my primary care physician. That has put a crimp in any splurging on sweets. I also will have only a very small window, if any, to relax my dietary restrictions after today as I must have another HbA1C test in mid/late November.

David Banner (not his real name) was a practicing physician, as most of you know. He has informed me that diabetes care has really moved past just HbA1C testing and into continuous monitoring of glucose levels, among other things. As my HbA1C levels almost always start with a “6” physicians have never seen the need to do that for me. (I have had only two readings over 7.0 in my 20+ year battle with diabetes. The last such reading, 7.1, was about three years ago and came after a ten-day ice cream binge.)

David Banner (not his real name) has also suggested that a change or addition to my meds regimen could give me a little more freedom in terms of diet. My body does not like new medications, however. I tolerate drugs I have been taking for a long time, but the majority of new prescriptions have been rejected, including one that incapacitated me for two days after taking just one dose.

I will splurge at breakfast today after getting “stuck,” but that may be the only time until after the test in November. Intellectually, I know it’s good for me to watch my diet. I have made some permanent changes that I can live with, such as never adding sugar to my coffee. However, not being able to have a milkshake whenever I want is something to which I have never really grown accustomed.


For many years, Chrysler Corporation had a reputation for stodginess, for conservative thinking. Many think that is a result of the commercial failure of the Airflow in the 1930s. That attitude was probably why the wonderful DeSoto Adventurer I was never put into production in the 1950s. OK, a picture:



This recent Hagerty article is about the Plymouth Belmont, a potential Corvette “fighter.” Any excuse to show a picture of an interesting car…



The long and low profile is quite stunning, in my opinion. The Belmont made its debut at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show, so the Corvette was already on the market. However, as most automobile enthusiasts know, the Vette was not a commercial success right away.

The purchase of the Briggs Body Company by Chrysler, as mentioned here, plays a role in the story of the Plymouth Belmont. I highly recommend your reading the Hagerty piece to get the whole story. I think this car has a much better look than the first Corvettes.

This and the Adventurer I were developed at about the same time. The fact that Chrysler put neither into production is, frankly, sad and may indeed be attributable to the conservative thinking of the company at that time.

Many cars built today have a disturbing sameness. In my opinion, the same is true for SUVs and pickup trucks although I am not a fan of either type of vehicle. I know this is a pipedream, but I really wish for an adventurous company or two to build something out of the mainstream.







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The Turn Of Autumn

From William Butler Yeats:


“The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings…
But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?”


The terrorists have won. Funding for Israel’s Iron Dome was removed from the spending bill passed by the US House yesterday. The so-called “progressives” threatened not to vote for the bill if the provision was not removed.

They are not progressive in any way, shape or form. They are hateful, ignorant anti-Semites, hypocrites who blather on about inclusion, but who want to punish Jews for crimes they have not committed. I weep for the future.



On this day in 1903 Packard’s huge and modern factory complex opened in Detroit, Michigan. From the time construction began until Packard occupied the facility took 90 days, a period that seems incomprehensible today. The plant was about three million square feet.

Some Packard “experts” believe that the move out of East Grand and into a much smaller facility on Conner Avenue in 1954 contributed to the company’s demise. This move grew out of Packard’s ultimately unwise decision to outsource production of its bodies to the Briggs Body Company in 1940.

After the death of company founder Walter Briggs in 1952 his family realized they had to sell the company to pay inheritance taxes. (The “progressives” argue that no one has ever actually had to sell a business or a house to pay such levies. Blind adherence to ideology really is blindness.) As Ford and General Motors were building their own bodies, Chrysler bought Briggs in 1953 and gave notice to Packard that it would no longer continue production of Packard bodies.

On the advice of his Vice-President for manufacturing, Ray Powers, Packard President James Nance decided to lease a former Briggs plant from Chrysler and move the entire manufacturing process there, not just the production of bodies. The complexities of such a move compounded by the much smaller size of the Conner Avenue plant (trying to shove five pounds of sh*t into a two-pound bag) led to massive quality issues with the 1955 Packards. The company was already struggling with its label as an Independent in addition to the merger with Studebaker that had its own serious problems.

The 1955 Packards were much improved in design over previous model years. The cars finally had a V-8 engine, for example. However, the hasty move to Conner led to numerous quality control issues that caused the company’s warranty expenses to be twice those for 1954 models and, more importantly, seemingly cemented the perception of Packard as a company that was behind the times in the minds of the auto buying public. 1956 model year sales declined by half compared to 1955 even though most of the production teething pains were behind the company. Of course, 1956 was the last model year that Packards were built in Detroit as production was moved to the Studebaker facilities in Indiana and Packards were built there for two years as badge-engineered Studebakers.

From Pinterest, an aerial view of the Packard plant circa 1939:


See the source image


From Hemmings a picture of a magnificent pre-war Packard, a 1934 Model 1108 meaning it was powered by a V-12 engine:


See the source image


“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.”

– John Greenleaf Whittier







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Collection Of Oddballs

No, this is not a description of my family and close friends. Yes, I may be an oddball and that’s OK.

I was originally going to call this post something like “Idiosyncratic Automobiles.” Nine times out of ten, a title like that suppresses the number of views and visitors.

I have always considered myself not to be a part of the mainstream. As I have written before, while I was physically raised in the US, culturally I was not raised here. My mother had been in the US a little more than two years before I was born while my father had been here a little less than two years. They were not allowed to immigrate to the US at the same time. Think about that awhile.

I have always lived more inside my head than in the physical world. For many–maybe even most–car enthusiasts their interest includes “wrenchin'” on cars. While I did routine maintenance for my first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO, my interests are not there, but are in design, performance specs, etc.

Since I am not the dullest knife in the drawer, my mind affords me the luxury of imagination, of exploration. By the way, I am not impugning the intelligence of those who like to work on cars. In fact, I have met many automobile technicians who are quite intelligent. I am just saying that my combination of nature and nurture has led me to be more cerebral and less hands-on, which is neither good nor bad.

Anyway…it was this car, offered at the recent Barrett-Jackson auction in Houston, that was the seed for this post:


1969 OPEL GT - Front 3/4 - 249909


This is a 1969 Opel GT and was one of two of these models to be sold at this auction. The red one sold for $27,500 all in.

I have always thought these cars just look awesome. They are often described as baby C3 Corvettes, but I think their proportions are superior to the Mako Shark Vettes. I strongly suspect most car aficionados would disagree and that’s OK, too.

Here are some more pictures of “oddballs.”


See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image


By the way, the picture of the Buick Reatta is from this Hagerty article titled, “Is the Buick Reatta a hidden gem of ’80s GM style?” Of course, some would remark that the phrase “’80s GM style” is an oxymoron.

I have noticed that all of these cars are on the small side. I also think that they have no doppelgangers. I mean, nothing else looks like an Alfa Romeo 4C or a Metropolitan.

I would very much like to read your opinions about these cars, about oddballs in general, etc.






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Monday Musings 81

I was originally going to write about this article from Mac’s Motor City Garage about the Studebaker V-8 engine. If you’re interested, you can read the article.

My writing well is dry this morning, but in my OCD-fueled quest to reach a certain milestone in yearly views by the end of this month, I am compelled to write. I readily admit that is not a good reason.

How about this recent photo?



My wonderful wife really liked this cactus flower. It’s a myth that the desert is just brown. That observation is particularly false after a wet monsoon season, like the one we have experienced this year.

Even in a monsoon sky, our views of the landscape can be breathtaking, and I don’t mean that in a Seinfeld kind of way.



This is the view from the bonus room on the north side of our house on the second floor. It was this room (>300 square feet) and this view that really sold us.

The house needed a lot of work and, in many ways, falls short of what we would want in an “ideal” dwelling, even at our budget. We had just 3-4 days to find a house and had to simply buy the best one available. Oh, it was one year ago today that our offer on this house was accepted.

It’s been an eventful year and, unfortunately, not all of those events have been good ones. I have been reluctant to share details about everything going on here, but–sadly–suspect I will have to share some of the relevant circumstances before too much longer.

Here’s hoping you’ll have a better Monday than I’m having.





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Can Porsche Save The Internal Combustion Engine?

Yes, you are reading Disaffected Musings. Yes, the post title reads like you think it reads. No, I haven’t had a seizure…at least I don’t think so.

Apparently, Porsche is at the forefront of an effort to develop “eFuels,” a substitute for current gasoline, but one that can be used in modern Internal Combustion Engine powered cars AND a fuel that significantly reduces emissions, particularly CO2, compared to today’s gasoline. Of course, today’s gasoline is 98% cleaner than the fuels used 60 years ago.

I will step out on a limb here: much of the effort to move to electric vehicles is not about environmental policy. It’s about a certain segment of the population wishing to force transfer of wealth from rich nations to poor nations, from rich people to government. It’s about trying to force their anti-business, anti-consumer culture, government uber alles agenda down everyone else’s throats.

Anyone not blinded by ideology knows it will be impossible to have an entirely electric fleet of passenger cars in the next 15-20 years; the infrastructure will NOT be in place to do so.

Just like it’s wise to have a diversified investment portfolio, it will be wise to have a diversified energy portfolio. Renewables will not be able to supply all of the power needs to a modern, industrialized society for at least the next 50 years, if even then. From Porsche’s Michael Steiner:


“We still have huge hunger worldwide for additional fossil energy, and you could not substitute this within one decade by electric energy. At least not in regions like central Europe, or other regions where a lot of people live and there is not too much solar energy or wind energy to harvest at hand in this country.”


Pie In The Sky is not pie, it’s crap. I commend the efforts of Porsche (and Siemens) to develop common sense alternatives. I like to give credit where credit is due. I guess I have to show a picture of a Porsche:


See the source image


Yesterday, Nebraska and Oklahoma played each other in college football for the first time since 2010. In the old Big Eight/Big Twelve conference, the two schools were arch-rivals. (Nebraska is now in the Big Ten and Oklahoma is in what’s left of the Big Twelve, but will soon move to the Southeast Conference or SEC.) In case you’re interested, or even if you’re not, Nebraska lost 23-16. Oklahoma was a 23-point favorite. In addition, it was the first time in 66 games that Oklahoma failed to score at least 27 points, the longest such streak in Division I football (I will NEVER use the terms FBS and FCS) in at least the last 100 years.

Fifty years ago the two teams played in the Real Game Of The Century. The game, played on Thanksgiving, matched two undefeated, untied and un-threatened teams. Nebraska was 10-0 and ranked Number One in the country, had outscored its opponents 389-64 with its smallest margin of victory being 27 points. Oklahoma was 9-0, ranked Number Two in the country and had outscored its opponents 405-146.

I was already a huge Nebraska football fan and refused to eat Thanksgiving dinner until after the game was over, despite constant warnings from my mother that I would get no food at all. I almost didn’t survive the tense game, but Nebraska did in a beyond thrilling 35-31 win. With 1:38 left in the game, Nebraska star running back Jeff Kinney (pictured below) scored what was ultimately the winning touchdown, his fourth of the game:


Image result for 1971 nebraska oklahoma


Kinney finished with 174 yards rushing on 31 carries. “The” play, though, was future Heisman Winner Johnny Rodgers’ incredible 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. After the bowl games and season had ended, Nebraska and Oklahoma were ranked 1-2 in the polls. Incredibly, fellow Big Eight school Colorado was ranked third. Nebraska demolished then #2-ranked Alabama 38-6 in the Orange Bowl prompting legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant to declare them the best team he had ever seen.

Sadly, with what is happening in college football–Oklahoma’s move to the SEC, the Big Ten entering into a scheduling alliance with the ACC and Pac-12–it is possible the two schools will never meet on the football field again after next season.






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