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Long live the "Cardinal"

Kyle Riviere
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere

William Faulkner once said, "The past is never dead; it's not even past."

I don't know if Beano Cook was a big Faulkner fan, but I feel confident in saying that he would endorse that stance.

The long-time college football analyst passed away last week due to health complications at the age of 81. And I for one will surely miss him being such a staple of the game.

No other analyst had approached Saturdays with such a witty historical perspective than Beano did for the past four decades. There was a reason why they called him the "Cardinal of College Football." He was like a walking college football encyclopedia.

Being such a fan of the game and having such a deep appreciation for history, I absolutely loved Beano's always-entertaining parallels he drew between football and our nation's storied past.

Some of my favorites included: saying the 2001 Miami team "had more people drafted than in World War II," Mike Price's job of "rebuilding UTEP was better than the Marshall Plan" and when there was debate over Doug Flutie's small stature, he said, "Well, they said Napoleon was too small too."

When I was I kid, I used to stay up late every Saturday night just to see what Beano had to say about the day's action on ESPN. By the time they got to him, he looked like he was half-sleeping. It didn't matter. Beano would have stayed up to 5 a.m. to talk college football.

His historical references always made me laugh and maybe just as big of a part of his legacy will be some of his off-the-wall predictions that never quite came through.

He will always come to my mind immediately after I hear Ron Powlus' name. It was Beano that infamously predicted Powlus would win two Heisman Trophies when he committed to play quarterback at Notre Dame. Unfortunately for Beano, he couldn't even win one.

He picked Penn State to upset that 2001 Miami team in the first game of the season. Miami went on to win 33-7, win the national championship and cement their place as one of the greatest teams in college football history.

But that was classic Beano. He was like some of those historical figures he so often referenced, having the courage to go out on a limb, no matter how thin that limb might have been and make a prediction that grabbed everyone's attention.

He loved the pageantry of college football and all of the undying tradition that went along with it. From dotting the "I" at the Ohio State home games, to the Army vs. Navy game, to "Touchdown Jesus," to the light reflecting off of those golden domes in South Bend every Saturday, he lived, breathed and ate the sport.

And now as we say goodbye, we can keep his trademark historical references alive because like Faulkner said, "The past is never dead; it's not even past." Beano himself is now a perfect reference.

Any time you find someone who is an expert and truly knows everything there is to know about their craft, you can say, "They are the Beano Cook" of their profession.