Orley Hood: at his best and his maddest

(Note from Rick Cleveland: We had nearly 400 folks here Wednesday afternoon for the Orley Hood Memorial. Not sure we could have shoe-horned anyone else in the Hall. I made sure Orley had his say-so, reading excerpts from several of his memorable columns. The one that follows, written on Sept. 18, 1982, more than 31 years ago, had people doubling over and slapping their knees in laughter. Many remembered the column about Bum Phillips trading Archie Manning to the Oilers. And others asked could we please publish the complete column...

Great piece by great writer about great man

(Note from Rick Cleveland: The late Orley Hood was a huge Bailey Howell fan. And, I know for a fact, Bailey Howell was a huge Orley Hood fan. The column that follows, written by Orley on the occasion of Bailey's induction into the Naismith (international basketball) Hall of Fame is one of the best sports columns — heck, one of the best columns, period — I have ever read. Get you a tissue and enjoy.) For a week now little boy memories have washed across an old boy’s vision, crystal...

Orley: on Bailey and the essence of heroes

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(Note from Rick Cleveland: One of grandest compliments a columnist can receive is when a reader asks about a column written years and years ago. Recently, a reader of this website learned of Orley Hood's ongoing battle with leukemia and asked me if there was any possible way to find a column Orley wrote  about Hall of Famer Bailey Howell and a jacket.  Here it is: Orley at his best about one of the best who ever lived. This was written in October of 1997.) For a week now little...

Orley: Remembering 1996 Final 4 and before

Just breezin’ on a cloudy Friday … It was another Friday, back in March of 1996. We’d been bused across the Hudson River from Manhattan to New Jersey, to the arena where the Nets played, for the show practice. Mississippi State, coached by Richard Williams, was to play in the Final Four against Kentucky, Syracuse and UMass; in other words, against Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim, and John Calipari. The teams were to practice for an hour each in front of the press. Pictures for the papers, interviews for local TV...

The picks: We're both going with Bama

All righty then … On top of the heap (mighty small heap, as heaps go) by two games over Rickey C. as the season slides inexorably toward its denouement. We start with … Louisville at Rutgers: The Big East is complicated, mediocre and boring, and whoever is ranked highest in the final BCS ratings gets a BCS bid. Louisville is 13th, Rutgers is unranked, and the world yawns and wonders how the Big East still rates an automatic bid. Rutgers 24, Louisville 21 on Thursday night. Northern Illinois-Kent State: For...

Egg Bowl predictions and more

The two old-timers picked some pretty clean cotton this past week. Orley Hood was 13-2, including that Stanford over Oregon pick, while Rick Cleveland went 12-3, despite ignorantly picking USM over UTEP. Hood and Cleveland head down the stretch all tied with 94-37 records. Orley's picks Mississippi State at Ole Miss: Rick called earlier, asked me who I thought was going to win. Uh … I don’t know, I told him. Still don’t. So, I’m going to do the other games first. Maybe inspiration will strike by the time I...

Youth vs. experience, sort of

In Mississippi's World Series of college football prognosticating, Rick Cleveland took a one-game lead over the older, more experienced Orley Hood this past week. Young Rick posted a 10-4 showing, compared to wily veteran Hood's  9-5. That gives the much-wetter-behind-the-ears Cleveland an 82-34 season record, slightly better than the grizzled Hood's 81-35. "Everything I know about this prognosticating business I owe to Orley," Cleveland said. "He's forgotten more than I'll ever know. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me to be a game ahead of...

Big Friday, huge Saturday

Big, big night for some big, big schools in the last games of the high school regular season. Think of it as moving day, like Saturday in major championship golf. A win tonight could mean two victories. A loss may equal two losses and a quick adios from the state tournament. Example: Brandon plays at ever improving Hattiesburg tonight. A Bulldog victory and they get a home game in the first round next week against the No. 3 from the Coast. A loss and they come in fourth, which gets...

We're headed into November, all tied

You've heard of a blind spot? If not, I'll give you a sample. Orley Hood has a blind spot. They are called the New Orleans Saints. I can't tell you the last time Orley forecast a Saints game correctly. His heart gets in the way of his head. That blind spot is all that keeps Big O from running away with this picks competition the way Bama keeps running away from everybody the Crimson Tide plays. If Orley could pick the Saints right, he'd be six or seven games ahead,...

Orley cain't figure out his Saints

My pal Orley can't seem to get his Saints right. He picks 'em to win, they lose. He picks 'em to lose, they win. Me? Man, I been watching those guys since I was 13. I got 'em figured out. Yeah, right. . . . The Saints' not-so-convincing win over Tampa Bay Sunday gave me a one-game lead in a two-man picks race. I was 9-2 last week, compared to O's 7-4. For the season, I am 52-20. Orley is 51-21. So here we go again. . .   Rick's...