[In a sensible four-door sedan, Parkway East. WALT HARRIS is behind the wheel with TODD GRAHAM riding shotgun. DAVE WANNSTEDT and PAUL CHRYST are in back.]
GRAHAM: So how long’s it gonna take us to get to Annapolis?
HARRIS: Four and a half hours, five if traffic is bad.
GRAHAM: I could get us there in three.
HARRIS: That’s ridiculous, no you couldn’t.
GRAHAM: Yeah man, I could. I like to go fast. You drive like you’re scared.
HARRIS: [hands at 10 and 2] I do not.
GRAHAM: You slowed down when we went through the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. And your license plate is "QUIKICK." Live a little.
HARRIS: Is it gonna be like this the whole ride, Todd? You’re always in such a rush. You didn’t even let me pack a bag.
GRAHAM: Pack a bag? Rookie mistake. I never unpack. You never know when you’re gonna need to leave on a moment’s notice.
WANNY: Yinz arguing already? Let’s get some tunes, put on DVE.
[GRAHAM tunes radio to 102.5, Allman Brothers’ "Ramblin’ Man" plays]
GRAHAM: Love this song.
WANNY: Me too. I ever tell yinz about the time I partied with the Allman Brothers back in the day? Ah wait, nah, that was Molly Hatchet… Did I ever tell yinz about the time I partied with Molly Hatchet? It was back in-
***WANNY’S PHONE RINGS***
[WANNY checks cell phone]
WANNY: Ahhhh geez. Be quiet guys, I gotta take this… [answers phone] Heyyyy pal! Yeah, we’re on our way to come get you... Nope... Nope… we haven’t even left Oakland yet. Walt was running late.
WANNY: Yep… Uh huh… Yep. Ok, keep an eye out for us. Yeah it’s gonna be blast, can’t wait. Alright, bye.
HARRIS: Who was that? We only bought four tickets!
WANNY: Mike Haywood. Just… just keep driving.
CHRYST: [has been sleeping since they left]
[10:30 am - The coaches pull into a gas station in Breezewood to fill up]
CHRYST: [groggily getting out of car] Skoal.
WANNY: [gets out] Yeah I’m gonna stretch my legs.
HARRIS: Todd, you remember the deal – I drive, Dave and Paul buy the tickets, you pay for gas.
[GRAHAM hands HARRIS a credit card]
HARRIS: [snickering] A University of Texas MasterCard?
GRAHAM: Look man, I’m not… it’s not what you… alright see Arizona is a dream job and I-
HARRIS: You mean Arizona State?
GRAHAM: Yeah, absolutely. Go Sun… Cats and all that. It’s just that Penny has a second or third cousin outside of Austin, that’s all.
HARRIS: Whatever. [gets out]
GRAHAM: [calling out the window] Hey Walt?
GRAHAM: Fill it with - [puts on sunglasses] - High Octane. YEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! [plays air guitar]
HARRIS: You are the worst.
[WANNY and CHRYST get back in the car]
HARRIS: What’d you get?
WANNY: Bag of sandwiches.
GRAHAM: A bag of sandwiches?
HARRIS: I thought we’d stop for lunch.
WANNY: I’m hungry, pal. [rummaging in bag] Yinz want one?
HARRIS: I’m fine, thanks. Let’s just get back on the ro-
CHRYST: Wait a minute. [holds up can of Skoal purchased minutes ago, now empty] Be right back.
[The guys stop for lunch at a chain restaurant]
GRAHAM: I’m starving. This place any good?
CHRYST: Yeah, we got three in Madison.
HARRIS: There’s an awful lot of stuff on the walls.
WANNY: Check it out, a Nevada license plate. Hey, we should go to Vegas.
HARRIS: No way.
WANNY: You’ll love it.
HARRIS: I don’t gamble anymore. Not after… never mind.
GRAHAM: Not after what?
WANNY: Walt ran the Swinging Gate against A&M.
GRAHAM: Aw man are you serious? I do dumber stuff than that before breakfast.
HARRIS: It’s why I started punting on third down. I’d rather not talk about it.
[SERVER approaches table]
SERVER: Are you gentlemen ready to order?
WANNY: Bag of sandwiches.
WANNY: Yeah, just throw ‘em in here. [hands server bag from gas station]
HARRIS: [covering face] Dave…
WANNY: It’s a good bag, yanno?
SERVER: O…K. And for you?
CHRYST: Cheeseburger sounds pretty neat.
SERVER: Good choice! Cheddar, American or Swiss?
HARRIS: I’ll have the Fiesta Fajitas… Get it, guys? Fiesta? Like the Fiesta Bowl?
GRAHAM: Is Urban Meyer gonna eat your lunch today too?
HARRIS: I hate you.
GRAHAM: [closing menu] Texas Burger… that sounds like a dream meal.
CHRYST: I bet.
HARRIS: So do you guys think we should talk about this game at all or what?
CHRYST: Yeah, feels like we’ve been talking about food since we left.
WANNY: Seriously, who wrote this crap? [scrolls to top of page] Oh, that jagoff… Alright, well the Panthers had a heckuva year, real proud of ‘em, but playing Navy in a road game? Gonna be rough.
HARRIS: Stopping that triple-option is always a challenge.
WANNY: Pal, tell me about it. Even harder on a weekday.
CHRYST: What’s really impressive is those Navy kids. They’re so disciplined, and they’re coachable, you know. When you get kids that are staying four years, and when you factor in their service years, that’s a nine-year commitment.
[GRAHAM spits drink across table]
GRAHAM: THE HELL DID YOU JUST SAY?
CHRYST: Yeah, it’s a nine-year commitment.
GRAHAM: [takes another drink, spits it across the table again]
GRAHAM: Committing for one thing for nine years. Can you imagine?
HARRIS: Right, it’s going to make it that much tougher for Pitt. It’s hard enough to beat Navy in a normal year. They’re a ranked team with a Heisman candidate quarterback. Narduzzi’s doing a great job though, I really think he’s got a shot to win this thing.
CHRYST: With my players.
GRAHAM: And my players.
WANNY: And a couple of my players I think. Man, it’s been a mess around here, yanno?
HARRIS: You’re not kidding. Sure has been a long time since I coached Pitt to a Big East championship and the Fiesta Bowl, huh?
WANNY: We get it, pal… Anyway, I’m really excited about where the program’s headed. It took a long time, and a lot of coaches, but I think they got the right guy this time. And that new AD really seems to know what he’s doing.
CHRYST: I heard the new AD doesn’t even call football "not basketball, but that other thing" like the last guy.
GRAHAM: I kid you not, Steve thought we played our home games on the Cathedral lawn.
HARRIS: He told me he was leaving to make Nebraska a basketball school!
[WANNY is pounding the table in laughter, GRAHAM wipes away a tear]
[Half an hour outside Annapolis, the coaches zip down the highway with all of the car’s windows down]
ALL: ♫…AND I’M A COWBOY/
ON A STEEL HORSE I RIDE/
ALL: ♫DEAD OR ALIIIIIIIIIVE♫
HARRIS: Thanks guys, that was awesome. We’re getting pretty good at those harmonies.
WANNY: Put the windows up, it’s pretty cold back here.
GRAHAM: Looks like we’re almost there. So who are you guys picking today?
WANNY: I’m the guy who made fun of James Franklin to his face on TV. Like I’m picking against Pitt. 31-20.
CHRYST: 17-16 Pitt. Pretty neat game.
GRAHAM: 93-87, Navy.
GRAHAM: It’s another high octane joke, champ.
HARRIS: I don’t know why I hang out with you.
GRAHAM: Pedal down, baby.
WANNY: How about you, pal – who ya got?
HARRIS: I don’t know. On one hand you expect Navy to be ready to play.
WANNY: Would they let me keep the stache if I joined the Navy?
HARRIS: What? I… I don’t know. Anyway, Navy is going to do what they do. But Narduzzi’s had a few weeks to get those kids ready, and that guy can coach up a defense. If they tackle well Pitt can contain them. On offense, it’ll be interesting with Jim Cheney gone. I’m looking forward to seeing if they play-calling looks any different and whether… you guys smell something?
GRAHAM: I don’t smell any-AW HECK MAN WHO WAS THAT?
CHRYST: [looking out the window] Heh.
WANNY: Haha dang, pal. [fist bumps CHRYST] Walt, put the windows back down.