By David Schoenfield
Page 2

Day 13 ...

I hit the wall.

Late in the first quarter of the Toledo-Northern Illinois game, I made the fatal mistake of going horizontal on the couch, kicking off the shoes, resting my head on the pillow ... let's just say I don't remember much of the second quarter. I woke up with less than a minute left in the first half to see four consecutive timeouts called!

Maybe this game deserved a little shut-eye.

But the surprising aspect might be that I woke up at all.

You see, it's been a crazy couple weeks, aside from the football and the salsa. Besides writing this column, I've been filling in for Dan Shanoff to write the Daily Quickie. Here's how my nightly routine goes:

1. Watch football game
2. Eat chips
3. Write Couch Potato column
4. Eat more chips
5. Write Daily Quickie
6. Go to bed ... by now, it's at least 3 or 4 a.m.
7. Get up by 9 a.m. to do the Morning Quickie chat show

Except sometimes it's closer to 4:30 a.m. and maybe 5 o'clock before I fall asleep. And the alarm is going off at 6:30 or so for Mrs. Couch Potato, and there's e-mail to check and yesterday I had a meeting in the office ...

Tuesday Scorecard
Food consumed: The rest of the Wheat Thins; one scone.

Diet sodas: 1

Salsa: Today's salsa was actually consumed before the game during the late lunch/early dinner. I hate to recommend a chain restaurant, but I have to give four stars to Chili's queso dip and chips. What can I say? Make fun of me if you want.

Best story from Tuesday's game: Toledo QB Bruce Gradkowski -- a very nice player, by the way (28 for 37, 297 yards) -- wasn't able to get out of his Wednesday finance exam. So, he'll have a five-hour bus ride back to Toledo after the game, and then have to take a test.

Wonder if Maurice Clarett ever had to do that?

I am not complaining. The point is that sleep has been a little hard to come by. I feel like an NFL coach. There have been a couple afternoon naps mixed in with the leaf-raking, believe me. But yesterday, I had that meeting, and then I met Mrs. Potato and our friend 8-Ball for a late lunch.

And then it was home for the game.

And then I hit the wall.

Baseball is my favorite sport, so I was worried I would get bored watching football day after day after day. But for the most part, the football has been pretty exciting. Writing the columns is the challenge, trying to come up with an idea each day. Finishing the football column and then summoning up the energy to write the Daily Quickie is difficult, but a little caffeine and it flows just like the Colts' offense. Smooth.

But those mornings ... those are hard. It's like waking up and realizing Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley are your quarterbacks; you want to crawl back under the covers.

And then there's Mrs. Couch Potato. She invariably wakes up when I stumble into bed at 4:30, lifts her head, looks at me like I'm the seed of Chucky and falls right back to sleep. Luckily, she never remembers this.

  • Football In America Index
  • Drehs: Day 13: Football on the farm
  • Postcard
  • Schoenfield: Livin' La Vida Sofa
  • Forde: Why we love football
  • Also, I'm lucky that Mrs. Potato has also been putting up with the project. She's watched some of the games with me, or at least some of some of the games. She watched most of that thrilling Louisville-Memphis game. On Sunday, when she got home from work, we watched the end of the Giants-Bears game. She's a Giants fan. And let's just say you shouldn't bring up Kurt Warner's name in our household right now. Or Mrs. Warner.

    So she's putting up with the football, and she's even been taping "Desperate Housewives" for me.

    Anyway, I was able to stay on her good side by taking her to a movie Saturday night. The Utah game had a late start on the East Coast, so we were able to catch a movie early in the evening. She's even been encouraging about my chips habit, buying me extra bags to ensure I don't run out. (Oh, and those Wheat Thins you bought for yourself, honey? All gone. Sorry about that. I'll make it up with some extra raking today.)

    The good news is that Dan Shanoff is back from his honeymoon to take over Quickie duties today. Which means I get to sleep in.

    Something tells me I'll be dreaming of football.

    Game score: Toledo 31, Northern Illinois 17 -- Two potatoes

    E-mail of the Day
    Love the columns and I admire your quest. I'm renovating the den, and I'm wondering about the TV/couch layout at the Casa de Couch Potato? What are your recommendations for both endurance and comfort?
    -- Robert O'Keefe

    Great question. Me and Mrs. Potato have tried a couple different layouts in our family room (which is not to be called the living room, as Mrs. Potato always reminds me, even though we do most of our living in that room). Right now, we have the TV in front the couch in a standard "T" formation. This is fine for sitting back and putting your feet up on the coffee table, but not so good if you want to lie on the couch for extended viewing because you have to turn your neck at a slightly awkward angle. I think the best solution is to get an "L"-shaped couch that allows for comfort from a variety of angles.

    Now in my case, we really only have one wall where we can position the TV, so we're somewhat limited. We had the TV in the corner at one point, but we've moved it now to the middle of the wall (opened up space, according to Mrs. Potato). Of course, for weekend football action, you want to make sure the sun isn't shining directly on the screen during prime daylight hours. And you need to make sure you have an easy path to the kitchen to load up on chips, salsa and beverages.

    David Schoenfield is an editor for Page 2 in his day job. He can be reached at