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Rota Fortunae: Week One

3 up, 3 down, as Lady Fortuna spins her wretched wheel.

Lady Fortune, spinning her wheel of fate.
Lady Fortune, spinning her wheel of fate.

"Philosophers say that Fortune is insane and blind and stupid, and they teach that she stands on a rolling, spherical rock: they affirm that, wherever chance pushes that rock, Fortuna falls in that direction.  They repeat that she is blind for this reason: that she does not see where she's heading; they say she's insane, because she is cruel, flaky and unstable; stupid, because she can't distinguish between the worthy and the unworthy.

-Pacuvius, Scaenicae Romanorum Poesis Fragmenta.

"You take the good, you take the bad, you take the rest, and there you have... my opening statement."

-Peter Griffin, Family Guy.

As any medievalist/football analyst knows, Lady Fortuna always has her fickle finger upon the wheel.  Kings may fall, rogues may rise, those inhabiting middle stations may still inhabit a middle station, but upside down, etc., all due to her unpredictable whims.

This football season, I shall check in on the Rota Fortunae (Wheel of Fortune, but the real one, not the crossword puzzle game for morons) to see where Lady Fortuna has spun our team.  I shall consult many oracles, heed the prophecies, and even go further back in history to the Anglo-Saxon conception of "Wyrd," but mostly, I will wake up, shake off my hang-over, and deliver the hot takes!

Three On the Rise:

Derek Mason

There is to be no doubt that the 2014 season was the absolute nadir of Derek Mason's football life.  He made the mistake of hiring a friend as Offensive Co-ordinator who, in the parlance of Review's Forrest McNeil, "couldn't manage a ham sandwich;" he lost his secret fancy list of in-game coaching decisions; and, worse yet, he allowed Nadia Harvin, Administrative Specialist, Head Football coach (I know!  It's still up there and they haven't fixed it!!!) and her Temple Owls to wet the ever-loving hell out of our respective hets.

In short, Mason began this year as the rogue on the bottom of the Rota Fortunae above, living in absolute squalor and barely averting certain death.

Some may argue there was "only one way to go - up," but clearly, they don't know how evil Lady Fortuna could have been.  Had the Western Kentucky Fightin' Red Amorphous Blobs laid a slobber-knocker on us like the Wet Hets did in the first week of last year, making us look like there was no one manning the wheel, we would all be calling for his head (instead of just VandyBruin, who is surely in the midst of enacting a revenge plot against Mason and staff of Shakespearean levels).

Instead, his defense looked sharp, and though the early game drops by every single WKU receiver cannot be attributed to any strategic insight on his part, it can be attributed to Lady Fortuna smiling upon him, ever so slightly.

Verdict: The wheel has been given a quarter turn upwards.

Trent Sherfield

Young Master Sherfield was lumped in with young Master Sims - as intriguing athletes thrust into the receiver position due to injury and general terribleness of the rest of the position group.  Sherfield flashed, and may have what it takes to be the go to guy C.J. Duncan was supposed to be.  Of course, the wheel can elevate him even higher... or bring him crashing down to the rocks below.

Verdict: The wheel has been given a quarter turn upwards.

Andy Ludwig's Play Calling/Offensive Mind

I don't know what you saw, but what I saw was an actual offensive game plan and wide open receivers in the end zone.  The execution (cough, McCrary in the red zone, cough) was lacking, but the schematics were well-designed and should have worked (or, at the very least, should not have failed so horrifically so many times in the red zone).

Verdict: The wheel has been given a half turn upwards, positioning Ludwig on the throne.  However, as King Arthur dreams in Morte d'Arthur, if he looks down, he may see nothing but writhing serpents hell bent on his destruction.

Three Who Lady Fortuna Has Not Favored

Any Receiving Target Not Named Trent Sherfield

Be honest.  Other than Sherfield (and Scheu, though not last night), would you have any confidence throwing in their direction?  This is a frighteningly shallow position group, and it showed.

Even when passes were thrown perfectly, Lady Fortuna favored chaos over catching.

Verdict: Lady Fortuna has thrown their rock upon the cliff, smashing C.J. Duncan in the process.

Nathan Marcus

See above.  Lady Fortuna reserved most of her spite for young Master Marcus, as she blessed him with a perfectly thrown ball for a touchdown, only to curse his feeble fingers at the last second.

Verdict: You should have called Lady Fortuna after she gave you her number at that kegger, Nathan.  Now look what you've done.

Red Zone Johnny McCrary

Two red zone interceptions, a few more that would have been touchdowns if not for your terrible accuracy, and a dropped pass on a perfectly thrown ball.

Verdict: Lady Fortuna enjoys you, young Master McCrary.  If not, why should she deign to give you so much suffering?  I prescribe a bloodletting by leeches thrice daily until your humours are in order.  You shall be on the upswing soon enough.