The story of Harvey Updike is a crazy one even for those of us who live in SEC country. A former state trooper planning and executing such a stupid act is something that is tough to wrap our heads around. Look, everyone outside of Auburn hates the place. We all sympathize with those who choose good over evil, but poisoning trees? Really? It takes a special kind of crazy to follow through on that idea. In college I could see my friends and I sitting around the apartment joking about doing something like that, but then the moment would pass and we would go back to pounding beers and head-butting each other before a Georgia game.
For a grown-ass man to drive 45 minutes from his home and pull this off makes one wonder just how crazy someone has to be to do something like this. Well, the answer is pretty damn crazy. ESPN’s brilliant Wright Thompson sat down with both Harvey Updike and his nom de guerre Al from Dadeville to learn more about the man. Thompson, a master with words, was left speechless on several occasions.
“Do you know the story behind Bevo?”
He begins rattling off pranks. Texas A&M fans stealing the Texas Longhorn and branding it with a score of a game, and Texas rebranding the word “Bevo” over it, hence the mascot’s name. Army-Navy, he says, and a kidnapped goat that was painted pink. One that Rice pulled on Texas.
“What do you think is different?” I ask.
“Me, personally,” he says, “I don’t think it’s a whole lot different.”
I don’t know what to say at first. I look across the table and decide he’s serious.
Updike is the ugly side to the SEC’s deification of college football. The pride Southerners feel for their team can be a wonderful thing up to the moment it engrosses them. Updike said, “I think about Alabama football, I’m not exaggerating, 18 hours a day. I have always been that way. It just didn’t start. That’s what people don’t understand. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is get on Tiderinsider and see what’s going on. I mean, I know it’s not healthy. I’ve been knowing that a long time. I have a daughter 33 years old named Crimson Tyde.”
The sad fact is the the SEC is the way it is — a hyper competitive, billion-dollar enterprise — due to people like Updike. They donate when they shouldn’t, buy season tickets when other things should take precedent and pack stadiums for spring exhibitions. While the SEC and it’s coaches will publicly say they detest the Updikes of the world, the fact of the matter is that they all get paid millions because the Updikes exist.
And with that, let’s hit the links:
Hey Notre Dame. The next time you claim to above the fray, read this and then STFU.
Year 2 feels a lot like year 1 for Turner Gill and Kansas.
Incoming Nebraska recruit can dead lift 640 pounds. That seems like a lot (video).
Will the practice of oversigning players in the SEC be dealt with next week when the SEC holds its annual meetings?
Once again, the Big 10 fails when it comes to marketing games. The Nebraska-Iowa game will be an 11:00 a.m. kickoff.
Auburn may have found another mercenary to run Malzahn’s high school offense.
Is a seismic shift coming this year in college football?
Greatest (or is it worst?) last name in the history of the college football Hall of Fame, right?
Tony Barnhart: Does the diluted Mountain West = AQ status?
Who’s up for a round table discussion on the full cost of scholarships?
Will Boston College ever win another Heisman Trophy?
Head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen will fit right in with those crazy bastards from West Virginia. He was recently kicked out of a casino.
This guy is dead-on balls accurate (My Cousin Vinny reference). The full cost tuition increase would crush small schools.