OPINION COLUMNS

‘Twas the week before bowl games

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, December 21, 2013

”Mr. Claus? Is this Mr. Santa Claus?”

Yes. Can I help you? As you can imagine I’m terribly busy right now.

“Certainly sir. We understand, and we’ll be as brief as possible.”

Bob Buckel

Bob Buckel

For starters, who is this?

“It’s Bill, sir. Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas. Down here in Austin?”

Oh, sure! Bill, how are you? Have you been good?

“Well, that depends on which regent you ask, sir. I’ve tried not to be downright naughty, but in my job you can’t always be nice.”

I dig where you’re coming from, dude. So, you got my email?

“Yes we did, and I must say we’re intrigued.”

We?

“You’re on speaker. Our new athletic director is here in my office. Santa, this is Steve Patterson.”

Hi, Steve. Glad you’re on board. I never thought “De-LOSS” was much of a name for a sports guy. You should call yourself “De-WIN!” Ho-ho-ho!

“Good one, sir.”

Please, call me Nick. Or, Santa. So, how’s it going?

“Well, we beat North Carolina in basketball, so…”

Nice. But we’re here to talk football, aren’t we?

“Yes, we are. We’re both a little shocked that you’d be interested in a job change.”

I understand that. You know, I’m just tired of dealing with this big one-day rush every year, then all that down time. Maybe it’s, I dunno, elffluenza. After several hundred years of diving down chimneys and scarfing milk and cookies, I’m ready for a new challenge.

“Well, coaching at the D-1 level is definitely a challenge. We noticed coaching isn’t on your resum . It’s mostly, uh, delivery.”

I assure you, supervising several hundred elves, getting all those wishes in and presents out, driving reindeer all over the sky – that’s as complex as any offensive scheme Mack Brown ever came up with.

“I’m sure that’s right.”

I’m a big-picture guy.

“Certainly.”

You have to admit I would have a huge leg up in recruiting. Pretty much every child in the world knows and loves me.

“That’s possible, I guess, although we tend to get them when they’re a little older and … meaner.”

Hey! Those massive linemen were in footie pajamas not that long ago. I know how to reach the child in every one of them.

“You know, under NCAA rules you know you can’t give them presents.”

That’s OK. I’m done with that. I just want to charge up and down that sideline, barking orders, yelling at referees, flinging my headset around … and of course, drinking a little hot cocoa at halftime.

“You can see your elf, uh, yourself, in that role?”

Oh, absolutely! Can’t you just imagine this fur suit in burnt orange?

“You’d be a vision, sir.”

I’ve even got some ideas about cheerleader outfits and band uniforms.

“I’m sure you do.”

So… I know where you guys are on my list – how high am I on yours?

“Well, we haven’t really…”

Let’s just cut to the chase. I know you wanted Satan, er, Saban. But ‘Bama laid the big bucks on him and your regents would never pony up to buy out that contract.

“We have some other folks we’re talking to.”

Yeah, right. As soon as they finish coaching in the Super Bowl. C’mon boys! You’re desperate! You need to make a splash, and the list of prospects is getting shorter and shorter. The only guy who comes close is the Pope, and I hear he’s stuck on the wishbone offense. Hire me, and the Aggies are off the front page forever! Who cares about Johnny Football when you’ve got Kris Kringle?

“It’s a point we’ve considered, sir.”

From a marketing standpoint, it’s a no-brainer. It’s really more of a merger than a hire – we’re both universally recognized brands. Think how great Longhorns would look pulling a sleigh! I’ve even got a songwriter working to blend “The Eyes of Texas” with “Santa Claus is Watching You.”

“You know, the more I think about it – give us a chance to run this past Joe Jamail…”

Have your assistant fax me something by, say, Dec. 27. I’ll need a little rest, but we want to hit the recruiting trail while visions of sugarplums are still dancing in their heads.

“You’ll hear from us, Santa.”

Hook ‘em! And Merry Christmas!

Bob Buckel is editorial director for the Messenger.

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