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Morning Briefing

USC taps its inner Green Monster

October 17, 2006|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

If your favorite college football team were a superhero, which superhero would it be?

"The Church of Albert," a sports blog devoted to "analysis, commentary and humor on Florida Gators football and basketball," has some fun with the idea. The blog casts Michigan as Wolverine (obvious), Notre Dame as Superman (peaked in the 20th century) and Miami as Luke Cage (a thug who can wring some necks).

As for USC and UCLA, would you believe ... the Incredible Hulk and She Hulk?

The blog explains: "The Incredible Hulk is an unstoppable force of nature that you do not want to get angry. He sometimes turns into a meek little man that gets pushed around for a little while, but eventually the Hulk bursts out and separates arms from shoulders.

"USC often puts forward meek-scientist-type efforts for three quarters, followed by a city-destroying fourth quarter than puts opponents away."

Riffing on UCLA, the blog continues: "Lots of Superheroes have a female version of themselves that no one takes seriously. She Hulk fills that role for the Hulk, and since USC is the Hulk ... "

Trivia time

What is the other connection between USC football and the Incredible Hulk?

We could

be heroes

A few more college football superheroes, according to the Church of Albert:

* Alabama: "Like the Batman, Bear Bryant was a magnificent and terrifying [nemesis] for his opponents. Once, when Batman was told he was a cheater, he replied, 'I call it winning.' If there is a more accurate description of Alabama football, I have yet to hear it."

* Ohio State: "Jack Hawksmoor wears a suit, but will still punch a man in the brain for disagreeing with him. Ohio State may have a coach who wears a sweater vest, but they're as dangerous as it gets."

* Tennessee: "The Kingpin looks exactly like Phillip Fulmer."

* Texas: "Captain America is always popular, always iconic, but he just isn't as powerful as his contemporaries. Then for a while, Mark Millar showed up and wrote the most [fearsome] Captain America of all time. Millar's Captain America made me proud to be an American. Substitute 'Vince Young' for Mark Millar and you see where I'm going with this."

Ripple effect

The 25th anniversary of the wave came and went Sunday with little fanfare. For those who take their sporting events seriously, preferring to reserve standing ovations for occasions that warrant them, it was no reason to jump out of your seat.

The creator-culprit widely recognized as the man who devised the wave is George Henderson, also known as Krazy George, a longtime professional cheerleader.

Henderson contends he first got the wave rolling at an A's-Yankees playoff game at the Oakland Coliseum on Oct. 15, 1981, disputing claims by the University of Washington that it was actually invented two weeks later at a Washington-Stanford football game.

Henderson says he has video footage to support his case.

"It's just a fun little thing," Henderson told the San Jose Mercury News. "And I'm glad I invented it."

After 25 years, many sports fans have grown to loathe the wave, but Henderson argues that it has its time and place.

"The place has to be full, the place has to be the right shape and it has to be at the right time, after a big touchdown or a team has scored a few runs," he said before adding, "And I never do any cheer when there's action on the field."

Trivia answer

USC linebacker Lou Ferrigno Jr. is the son of the actor-bodybuilder who played the Incredible Hulk in the 1970s television series of the same name.

And finally

Fox NFL analyst Howie Long, on what the Tigers' advancing to the World Series means to Detroit: "Any headline that's not about the Lions in Detroit is a good headline."

mike.penner@latimes.com

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