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    Warning: the Thanksgiving turkey we're cooking may contain Purdue at the Shutdown Fullback studios. However, existence of said ingredient is always in question, so please semi-ignore said warning.

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    THE ONLY PLAYCALL YOU WILL EVER NEED. It's been a long year for Holgo, but be honest: he would say this in the middle of an undefeated season up fifty in the national title game.

    If you are a defensive coordinator, or in fact have ever successfully run more than two defenses on "Heisman" difficulty on NCAA 2012, please send your CV to West Virginia University's football offices. This is not a joke. You stand a perfectly good chance of being their next defensive coordinator.

    THE NCAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY. Is now so utterly full of shit they've come close to a kind of naked honesty about their 100% shit rating. (THE NCAA: CONTAINS 3% REAL JUICE.) They will consider anyone not testifying in their case against Nevin Shapiro to be guilty until they testify, meaning they will take the word of a Ponzi-scheming asshole as evidence, and then proceed with their case as they like.

    This will lead to the punishment of a university the athletes and coaches have long since left under rules the NCAA is making up as they go. Be clear: this isn't a criminal case, or a civil case, or even small claims court. In fact, it resembles nothing like any code, system, or regimented order of any sort. This is an organization devoted to protecting unpaid labor it uses to sell a basketball tournament sold to networks. It is involved in football at the behest of those seeking to protect the profits they receive from unpaid or underpaid labor on their side.

    No one is in charge. There is just someone making up rules as they go, and now definitely crafting them to create outcomes favorable to their interests. They can do this: they have the permission of the schools involved, and have it for all the reasons listed above.

    And you know it's bullshit in the purest form, and bullshit in the sincerest definition of the word because bullshit is not concerned with lying because lying by definition acknowledges a truth. Bullshit doesn't even care about that: bullshit exists for its own sake, just flopping into this world with no justification but "hey, look, bullshit."

    And there, in the lovely chaos of last weekend, is that stinking pile of bullshit someone had to leave on the floor. Combined with realignment crashing into the headlines, this reminds you that liking college athletics is basically volunteering for an autoimmune disease or drug addiction. You get one weekend--one hazy, delirious weekend where pleasures were not singular, and in fact stacked atop one another in a satanic Monte Cristo sandwich of deep-fried indulgence. After the Oregon and K-State games, after college football had thrown the chairs into the swimming pool and put pornography on every television while cutting up lines on the suite's wet bar with a survival knife, shit, of course you were watching late night Pac-12 football and not even questioning it.

    Then the bill came, and then housekeeping, and then--after housekeeping ran out screaming--the police were called, and then bribed because the police are not here to preserve order, but to take money for not arresting you. That's what the police in college athletics do: they are a tax you pay to preserve the next weekend's revels and appease whatever assjacks have decided that any of this is, or ever was legitimate in the least.

    You'll be back next weekend. So will we, and then we'll have this whole awkward hangover/bribery brunch all over again.

    Um, links.

    EVERYONE HATES BIG TEN EXPANSION. No really, every single person in the world thinks it's the stupidest idea ever. But hey: new rivalry training is fun, and so are pinworms.

    HE WOULD THINK THAT. Notice that Nick Saban did not say what he thought Gene Chizik had done a great job of doing, exactly. Keep the dream alive, Krystal marquees of Auburn.

    WE KNOW YOU MISS PUBLIX, URBAN. You can be paid to say Kroger is your preferred grocery store, but we know in your heart you crave the green labels of home.

    MIKE LEACH IS GOING TO MAKE YOU DO SO MANY BURPEES. Or "pirate burpees," which is where you have to do them one-legged because "a whale ate the other one."

    ETC: That's a textbook dropback. OHHHH, ROCKET FUEL MALT LIQUOR.

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    BILLABONG THROWBABY 8-BIT. If even a shred of this was inspired by Shutdown Fullback, we feel like we've done what we wanted to accomplish not only with the show, but in life in general.

    The SEC's video departments shall not be outdone, outrivalled, nor outspent.

    CASE MCCOY RAN, AND THAT WAS THE MOST TERRIFYING PART OF ALL. TCU used the best defense available last night: the Texas offense, which spat up four turnovers and allowed the Horned Frogs to run the ball, clock, and the Longhorns' night into a ditch full of very expensive and toxic agricultural runoff. Texas has now lost to both new Big 12 members in their first year in the conference. Mack Brown makes a billion dollars a year, literally.

    HATE IS QUANTIFIABLE. The college football staff stacked up every possible ranking we could to quantify matchups of Hate Week, and perhaps tweaked a few to imply that some of the fanbases involved are actually the same people in different clothing.

    COACHING DOES NOT SOUND LIKE A FUN PROFESSION. Jeff Tedford's final days at Cal sound like those of a man burnt down to a charred cinder of his former self. His legacy as Cal head coach, even with the last two dismal years of his stay in Strawberry Canyon, is an impressive one. (Impressive at Cal involves "winning football games." )

    OTHER THANKSGIVING-DELAYED NEWS. Oh, the playoff thing, which is only worth $470 million a year to ESPN.

    THIS IS REALLY WHAT A SUN BELT TEAM MIGHT DO. Those endless hours playing NCAA might just land you a coaching job in America's Azerbaijan. So, that would be the Arkansas State job, and it's all yours if you share your XBox Live profile with them.

    SPEEEEEEEEEED. Tony Franklin's Louisiana Tech attack is the result of economy and speed, or in other words what someone like Rob Ryan in the NFL would call "college crap."

    ETC: Eeeeee-ceeeeee-dub! Eeeeee-ceeeeee-dub! Eeeeee-ceeeeee-dub! This is advertising at its finest, and includes Dikembe Mutombo dodging strip malls clogging the very heart of America. This is the greatest football play of our time.

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    1. Notre Dame. Played every game they've played in 2012: looked inconsistent on offense, gave up yardage between the 20 yard lines, waited for the other team to spit the bit (usually via an INT to Manti Te'o), and then capitalized on those mistakes while bunkering around their own endzone in a 22-13 win over rival USC. They are not a pretty football team, but neither is their coach Brian Dennehy, and both just keep cashing checks and smiling.

    2. Alabama. A 49-0 win over Auburn adds to this impressive statistical pile: the 129 points Auburn has lost their last three games by, a margin rounding out the fastest collapse by a BCS championship team ever. This entry wasn't about Alabama, but when the other team doesn't score a point, one does tend to look less at the semi truck, and more at the poor deer blasted all over the highway by the impact.

    Bowl projections || BCS ranking projections || Heismanti vs. Johnny Heisman

    3. Georgia. Speaking of horrendous impact: 42-10 over Georgia Tech, a team that will now turn around and play in the ACC title game with a 6-6 record against Florida State. This sets up a possible 7-6 ACC representative for a BCS slot. College football is so very stupid at times, and that is one of its most endearing traits.

    4. Ohio State. As we were saying about endearingly stupid things: Ohio State finishes an undefeated season with a 26-21 submission of Michigan, and now will sit at home because their athletic director elected to take a bowl ban this year, and not with last year's 6-6 Gator Bowl team. The stupid part is that they are not in the national title picture. The endearing part is that in a frigid, blustery Ohio Stadium postgame on Saturday, not one Buckeye fan gave a rat's ass about it.

    5. Oregon. 48-24 over the Oregon State Beavers, who, only down 20-10 at the half, made the classic mistake of playing a third quarter against Oregon. The Ducks hit the nitrous after the break, scoring 28 points and joining the stack of "one-loss teams who could annihilate anything in the country, but who will be happy to play in the Holiday Bowl or something like that."

    6. Florida. Gained more rushing yards against Florida State than they did against anyone except the University of Tennessee this year in a 37-26 win over their bitter in-state rivalry. This has something to do with Florida's offensive line being as healthy as they've been since their win over LSU, and also because E.J. Manuel handing the ball over four times tends to boost your time of possession numbers. All eight sets of Phil Steele's power rankings call for the Seminoles to go undefeated in 2012, and that is why gambling is a terrible, terrible way to make money.

    7. Kansas State. Bye week. Bill Snyder probably spent it gardening, browsing the aisles of a Tractor Supply Company, or engaging in some other old man swag-boosting activities.

    8. LSU. Les Miles thinks you should kiss every man on the mouth after a closer-than-expected 20-13 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks. This sounds uglier and closer than it should have been, but all anyone will remember is Jarvis Landry erasing all of that by controlling a ball with his mind.

    P.S. The John L. Smith era at Arkansas was dramatically less fun than one might have hoped.

    9. Texas A&M. The score is deceptive, since 59-29 implies that Texas A&M couldn't have scored 80 against Mizzou with their foot down. If you hear someone complaining about the Aggies running up the score, and keeping Johnny Manziel in the game just to drive home a case for the Heisman, you have found person who has literally just watched Texas A&M play for the first time this year.

    10. Florida State. The 37-26 loss to Florida is really not helping their resume for an impending move to the Big 12, but it does continue Jimbo Fisher's evolution into being the next Mack Brown

    11. Stanford. It must really, really hurt to play Stanford, since a 35-17 win over UCLA and the attendant box score does not really capture the pulling linemen, power run game bludgeoning, and defensive line malice involved in a Stanford contest. And lucky you, UCLA! You get to do it next week, too!

    12. Clemson. Joined the ACC's parade of failure against the SEC by losing to South Carolina, 27-17. The real downside to this is that losing to South Carolina for a record fourth time in a row might shorten Dabo Swinney's lifespan as Clemson's head coach, and that would rob us of Swinney and Spurrier, the best two man comedy duo since Fry and Laurie.

    13. South Carolina. Steve Spurrier is now the winningest coach at two schools, Florida and South Carolina. Put the man near championship golf courses, and you will have the best college football coach of his generation.

    14. Oklahoma. A 51-48 victory in overtime for the Sooners is new territory for the Bedlam rivalry, but with very old and familiar results for OU and Bob Stoops.

    15. UCLA. Again: what a joy it will be to play the swinging sack full of sledgehammers that is the Stanford football team two weeks in a row, Jim Mora. Especially when you just lost to them, 35-17. (P.S. This is still a fantastic year for them no matter what happens, because UCLA has nine wins after looking like one of the worst teams in recent Pac-12 history under Rick Neuheisel.)

    16. Oregon State. Another Pac-12 success whose late season performance might put a bit too much emphasis on the unfortunate party foul lurking in an otherwise pleasant eight-win punchbowl of a season. (Lost 48-24 to Phil Knight's Hyperdrive Assassins.)

    17. Nebraska. Did you watch this 13-7 win over Iowa? You may be eligible to participate in a class-action lawsuit against Kirk Ferentz for whatever that was that Iowa football subjected the rest of the nation to this year. Contact your local football attorney for more details.

    18. Texas. Lost, 20-13, to TCU in a game confirming that a.) Gary Patterson is a very good football coach, and b.) that no one knows what the hell is going on at Texas in the year 2012, and that includes Mack Brown. If you are Texas fan, do not compile a list of Texas quarterbacks Mack Brown did not offer or recruit as quarterbacks coming out of high school. This way lies suicide.

    19. Louisville. Won, 20-23, over Connecticut in overtime. You read that correctly. This did not happen, and neither did a wrist injury to Teddy Bridgewater. WHY CAN'T WE HAVE BEAUTIFUL THINGS, COLLEGE FOOTBALL? (Answer: UConn, which will probably wake up in the ACC's bed tomorrow because the ACC does really insane, irresponsible things when drunk.)

    20. Michigan. I was at this game, and if you have a copy of Al Borges' gameplan, please email it to me because I, too, like ridiculous and nonsensical things. A hard, 26-21 loss to Ohio State.

    21. Rutgers. Celebrated the move to the Big Ten as one does: with a 27-6 loss to Pitt.

    22. Oklahoma State. Mike Gundy did an astonishing job coaching the Cowboys this season to get them to 7-4, and that sentence is a reminder that Stillwater, though much improved, is still a hard place to be really, really good at college football.

    23. Kent State. 11-1 in the MAC after a 28-6 win over Ohio, and one of the best stories of the year! (Please, please, please do not ever look at who that one loss is to, because it ruins the whole great story part.)

    24. Arizona. Lost the Territorial Cup to Arizona State, 41-34, and may not get it back for a while when Todd Graham tosses it in a carry-on as he flies to Knoxville for "a family reunion."

    25. Washington. Lost, 31-28, to the lowly Cougs in the Apple Cup. They also beat Stanford earlier this season, and never, ever try to explain any of this to anyone.

    Look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.

    Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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    1. I wasn't in Tallahassee this weekend. I was in Columbus, Ohio, standing in the endzone high up in section 32B, looking down at a guy in a white jacket stand at the thirty yard line hugging seniors. Not his seniors, technically; they were seniors recruited by another guy, a guy who was hauled onto the shoulders of the 2002 BCS Title team and treated to a thunderous ovation later that day. Jim Tressel looks older, but then again, he always did. Jim Tressel was born fifty, and he'll die at fifty.

    2. The temperature hovered around thirty-two degrees all day, and a light snow kept sneezing through the air like three-dimensional television static.

    3. Florida was preparing to play in Tallahassee, where the temperature would peak at sixty-seven degrees, and get down into the forties when the sun dipped behind the cock-and-balls profile of the Florida state capital. Florida and Florida State players dressed as they usually do for temperatures like this: wearing more clothing than anyone on the field in Columbus was wearing.

    4. Brady Hoke was wearing short sleeves.



    5. While Will Muschamp was chewing whole pieces of cedar in two and raging through pregame, we were all in 32B, where there were two Michigan fans and several hundred people wearing scarlet jerseys, all stamping feet, bouncing up and down to "Seven Nation Army" not out of fervor but as much to stay warm, and feel something like human feelings in the feet. That high in the stadium, you can see the old shell of Ohio Stadium: the roman stylings on the columns, the grave letters spelling out "FRIENDSHIP THROUGH CONTEST" on the walls, the twin outlines of poured concrete cake stacks topping the north end, peaked with flags whipping straight in the wind for the entire three and a half hour contest.

    6. Two policemen stood up there the whole game, their silhouettes framed against a sky so dull and gray it transcended Midwestern cliche. Those two men are likely still shitting icicles today, and will be for most of the week.

    7. I was ready to bolt The Game early if I had to, but fortunately Midwestern football is polite and runs on a schedule. After Denard Robinson scored on Al Borges' mind-blowing two-minute drill (sweep left! then sweep right!) the game calcified, presumably frozen by the elements and both defenses clamping down on whatever was going on in the first half. Braxton Miller was largely corralled, and Carlos Hyde was left to pound out the Michigan defense and put the Wolverines in the horrendous position of doing whatever it is that Al Borges wants the Michigan offense to do.

    8. No one knows precisely what this is, save from calling really obvious rollout passes that the Georgia defense was picking off back in 2006. You, Devin Gardner, are no Brandon Cox. (Mostly because Gardner only threw one pick, and Cox was good for at least three against Georgia at any given time He also did nothing but beat Florida. I hate and respect you, Brandon Cox, and always will.)

    9. The odd thing--besides the dead-on certainty that, in the five assholes out of one hundred you will see at any game, the ones at Ohio State are wearing Buckeye snapbacks, jerseys, and look like Landry Clarke from Breaking Bad--is how much Ohio State looked like every other Urban Meyer team ever. They had none of the lethargy of the 2011 Ohio State team, and played the same submission ball in the second half that Meyer's best Florida teams played.

    10. The second thing: how similar in attitude this looked to Jim Tressel's best teams. Instead of forcing the issue--faking a field goal, trying an onside, or simply heaving the ball downfield hoping something might break the stasis--Meyer's 2012 team did what a Jim Tressel team would have in punting, taking field goals where it could get it, and then daring Michigan to do something with the ball. That something was the same rollout pattern Michigan had tried all game long, and that something ended up being the game-clinching Interception.

    11. This was all far more entertaining than it sounds. You could hear Gardner getting hit up in the second deck where we were. If you have opiates, please bring them to the Michigan football offices. They are in need of them.

    12. Ryan Shazier is a very mean person. Do not ever, ever deny him a single request.

    13. The best Michigan/Ohio State interaction: Snapback Todd eight rows up somehow finds out the name of the adorable, dewy-eyed 20 year old Michigan blonde lady in front of us. Her hame was Lori, and once he discovered this he put it to use.


    Next to her, a Bro-hioan of the highest caliber in a hoodie pulled over his head with a lip in shook his head, turned to her, and sighed.

    "We like you Lori. We hate your shirt. But we like you."

    He didn't offer to share his dip afterward, but that was probably implicit.

    14. Also, I have no idea if this team would have competed for the national title this year, but I suspect the same is true for 2012 Ohio State and 2012 Florida: you'd want them next year with a clean slate and another year of experience for the quarterback and skill position players on offense, and just take this year as a happy surprise without gnashing teeth over what might have been. That is an unusually sane opinion to have about your football team, so please immediately reject it on principle.

    15. Ohio State's band SLAUGHTERED Michigan's band. If this were a football game, it would have been Florida State/Savannah State. I remember the Ohio State band nailing a straight line across eight yards of formation, and the Michigan band doing a half-assed boogaloo before farting away quietly for the remainder of their show. The Best Damn Band in the land is an affront to college marching bands in the sense that they appear to work hard, have discipline, and wear clean uniforms while playing a mean version of Stravinsky's Firebird.

    16. That is a compliment, because all of those things are usually good, and it makes other college marching bands look bad in comparison when you're all good at things. Well-done.

    17. In summary: Ohio Stadium is brutal, gray, loud--yes, loud, by any standard--mean, cold, and constructed out of concrete bearing a few too many visible cracks for you to be totally comfortable seeing in a structure capable of holding over 100,000 people. (The ledge from the upper deck on the east and west sides had me hyperventilating.) There are grim bells, columns, and one jumbotron plastered onto the south endzone. The effect is that of a flatscreen slapped on the wall of a Roman gladiator's quarters, something very modern hanging on a wall bearing the scars of prehistoric combat.

    18. Which, in cliche and reality, is totally what Michigan/ Ohio State is. I get that now after seeing it, because this is not about fun, glorious spite, or simple culture-clashes. Robots programmed this rivalry, and its only prime directives on either side is opposition. You may joke about other rivalries claiming to have been at war with Eastasia, but to either side, the war is eternal, and it is the other side that believes in obliteration of the self and will not stop chewing at the borders of the free nation of Oceania.

    19. It feels old, and wears its own leather helmet while drinking scotch and staring at a gray sky. It had been a while since I'd been in the Midwest, and the thought initially filled me with a real and arbitrary sorrow. Driving through Columbus, there are all these lost things--cabbies that arrive on time, bland family restaurants with buffets and non-chain restaurant names, bells that ring in buildings ripped from a Wes Anderson movie's backlot--all these things that never existed where I'm from.

    20. There is an order, an assumption of things that feels almost German, an implicit clockwork frame for things that has the dead hands of old Northern Europeans all over it. A cop stopped us jaywalking in easily negotiable traffic to say "please, be careful." He wasn't being a dick, either: he was dead serious. A woman at a tailgate asked us if we wanted any food, and then put the full Chinese grandmother press on us not because, well, you had to eat, didn't you? You couldn't just go hungry? Four avuncular guys broke out singing "I wanna go back to Ohio State" in the middle of a tailgate, and no one stopped to gawk, but to listen appreciatively. They were pitch-perfect, and sprung up out of nowhere before melting back into the crowd wearing uncle-ish clothes, and toting red solo cups full of spiked cider.

    21. It felt like America being filmed on a pre-stressed set made to look just a hair older than it actually is. It felt foreign, and planned, and utterly intentional in every way, as if people hadn't just laid down an interstate, kinked the traffic hose, and lived in resulting wreckage. It had an order and age that nowhere I've ever lived had, or at least held for too long before bulldozing it and replacing it with something that looked like a La Quinta.

    22. Maybe that, in the end, is what makes Michigan/Ohio State so titanically death-y, huge, and haunted. There is a straight line connecting each game to the next, and the team, and the silent orders who keep the verse, chapter, and books safe somewhere. There is a continuity, one that says Brady Hoke should wear short sleeves because no, it is not cold, Professor Hayes, and yes, that the PA announcer will say "The school up north" before the game, but refer to Michigan by its proper name when the fight has started. That straight line terrifies me for the same reason every tradition does: because it goes onto the horizon, past it, and past me. There will be the same bulidings. They will have different, strange people wearing terribly familiar colors walking their halls.

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    Big East: Do you have a football team?

    Tulane: Yes.

    Big East: That's lovely!

    Tulane: Yes, but we don't have our own stadium yet, and frankly, we've struggled to compete against--

    [puts fingers to Tulane's lips]

    BE: Shhhhh, baby. Shhhh. Don't ruin this for us. And you are located in New Orleans, Louisiana?

    Tulane: Yes.

    BE: And are central to the city, and close to large steakhouses that take corporate credit cards? And hotels?

    Tulane: Yes. We also have a very good school of public health, one of the few specializing in tropical diseases, and a law school that has--

    BE: Shhhhhh---just, I wanna look at those lips for a minute. And you say you'd like to host our teams, and could facilitate entertainment for the Big East's officials in the manner they're accustomed to being entertained in?

    Tulane: Don't y'all just usually buy lobster out of a trunk and drink Sparks or something?

    BE: Yes.

    Tulane: Oh, we can do a lot better than that. Do you like prostitutes?

    BE: Prostitution is illegal! We do not, sir.

    Tulane: Good, we don't like prostitutes, either. We in New Orleans prefer whores.


    Tulane: Great! One question: what's the Big East?

    BE: Something that will pay in cash until it can't.

    Tulane: We like money.

    BE: So do we. When we find some of it, we will let you know. What's a crawfish?

    Tulane: It's like a lobster, but smaller, cheaper, and will eat anything it can to survive. It's like what happens to lobster after they lose all their money, or family, and other things start just picking it down to size, and---

    BE: That's a heavyhanded metaphor for what's happening to us, Tulane.

    Tulane: No one said we did subtlety. You want us to roll naked in that tub of creole butter to make things better?

    BE: No! [sighs] Yes.

    [Tulane rolls naked in creole butter while playing trombone solo]

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    This appeared on ATL Craigslisttl/evg/3435801270.html this week:


    $50 seems a bit low for what might be glorified prostitution, but just in case this is as on-the-level as a lingerie gig that goes until 4 a.m. at a party full of inebriate SEC fans can get, then well, we are about helping people at EDSBS. Plus you can never hustle too hard in this economy.

    I am available this weekend for your festivities. I do not accept cash, but barter. I am looking for one of the following in exchange for lingerie modeling and light massage.

    --three cases of SunDrop

    --a "Honk if you sacked Brodie" bumper sticker ("War" Eagle!")

    --A Soloflex home exercise gym in any shape. I am good at fixing things.

    Attached is my photo. I'm sure you will respond.



    We'll update you as needed. (via)

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    PREPARE YOURSELVES. Notre Dame fans, this is your possible enemy for the title game. You are not prepared. WARNING: contains vulgarity and terrifying video effects.

    Good luck.

    THEY'RE IN. That's what the headline says, so it must be true. Big Papa is coming to the ACC via a unanimous vote this morning by the members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, concluding a long period of limbo for the conference where it was unclear whether they would remain in the Big East, jump to the Big 12, or become the butteriest, freshest independent in all the land. The ACC now has Frank Beamer and Charlie Strong in its coaching ranks, making the ACC the most masculine conference by double in two ethnic categories. (P.S. Norm Chow is still the toughest Asian head coach. He is also the only Asian head coach, but take your laurels where you can.)

    TYPICAL RACE-CARDING WAIT WHAAA--- Bill McCartney suggesting that Jon Embree got fired after two years where others wouldn't have been because of his race is indeed one of our most post-racial moments of 2012.


    JAMES FRANKLIN SAYS BACK THAT TRUCK UP. Franklin is the source of some interview interest--see NC State--but SOURCES have him staying at Vandy provided the cash for him and his assistants adds up to something like a pleasant number. (Vandy has cash. These numbers will likely add up for now.)


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    BRAKED: JOAN GRUBEN IS NEXT COLCH AT TENNASEE. Contart wil be billion of dolalr.


    Jinnt Halsam meet with Grben last wk on Halsam boat. Two like other. Deel details have kin drank gas strait from pilot gas nippulz. Free crackur barroll 4 lyfe leightest ofer to gurden.




    Gruban deel almost fall but two factros. Billionoid lurpchaun Chasney show golds to Grubens and sings 'oh smal town church blue jeen mama country hardees prom date." Groban liked golds and Tenassee heart. Alrett own billion Akers land in Tenassee. Planed for yearz. All part of grban plann.


    Halsom also give Gruben Clebelan. Worth thousamb dolors or mor. Need new roof an lectrical work, people cant live thurr.


    Gruban alrett take jerb! LOOK OAT, CANTUCKY! RARRRR.

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    I like to imagine Bill Belichick as a college coach sometimes. His offenses and defenses would undoubtedly be innovative, aggressive, and exquisitely wrought pieces of football machinery. He would also only enjoy the recruiting trail for one thing: the chance to have sex with your mother. Stop, stop: you need to be more mature about this, because she is a grown woman and has needs like anyone else.

    You really don't want to know what those needs are. Bill does, but that is as far as he gets in the "successful college coach" blueprint. Few coaches have crossed the permeable barrier between college and the NFL without losing something in the transaction.

    Those who have are some of nature's strangest, most aggressive primate geniuses: Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer. One earned Super Bowls by buying a two-seat car, divorcing his wife, and milking years off his life in the process. The other one is Barry Switzer, whose tenure in the pros was most notable for him running up a six-figure room and bar bill during Super Bowl week. Both are amazing achievements, and related because Barry Switzer just took Johnson's team to a championship before piling the whole marvelous machine into a ravine.

    Uncle Luke declares Al Golden to Tennessee

    No one else has achieved those lofty heights, and with good reason. The two jobs are both football jobs, but also subject to very different basic demands, demands that someone like Jon Gruden -- like most coaches moving in either direction -- would be utterly unfit or unlikely to satisfy.

    1. Recruiting. The first thing you will hear NFL scouts say about college is that "Ehh, it's all recruiting." They are right to a certain degree. (A degree ignoring everything else involved, but still.) Unless you are Bill Snyder, the cagey old man sweeping a magical metal detector across the beach and finding discarded talent bullion just left there in the sand, you need to recruit, and then develop said talent. Finding that talent is a full-time job all by itself, a multi-level person-to-person marketing scheme run 365 days a year by you and a crew of sleepless assistants. It is a skill, and one that needs constant adaptation and attention.

    Jon Gruden has never recruited in the modern college football landscape. He did once declare that he would need two hotel rooms for all his bitches after a victory. That might be a pretty good start on a recruiting philosophy, but we will never know because this is not happening, ever. He was also less than successful when he did control his roster decisions as an NFL coach, something that might raise a few red flags for those concerned about talent evaluation.

    2. He makes a tremendous amount of money right now doing very little. His estimated compensation for the Monday Night Football job is $4 million a year. This involves prepping for one broadcast a week, and then interviewing terrified young quarterbacks in the time between broadcasts. This does not include his income from ripping his pants while drinking beer, nor the spare time he spent -- I am not kidding -- watching game film with Ron Zook during the offseason.*

    *To be fair, this would be really, really fun on the right drugs.

    In exchange for this lifestyle, he could take over a snakebitten program fresh from two consecutive coaching disasters and stuck in one of the sport's most challenging Bermuda Triangles of recruiting. Tennessee spends more money annually on recruiting than any other program, and with reason: they sit in the eastern corner of a smallish state, and scramble after talent pursued on all sides by very successful programs.

    But sure, yes, of course, how could we ignore the appeal of working four times the hours minimum for what might amount to less pay minus the lucrative endorsement deals? Making less money to do more, all while losing sleep worrying about Dabo Swinney sending carrier pigeon love notes to your recruits, makes total sense.

    3. He is a West Coast Offense guru. This has never, ever worked at the college level, and likely never will due to the time required to master the timing, the formations, sight adjustments, and the mile-long playcalls involved. Cam Newton seemed confused about them, at least.

    Gruden is deeply and admittedly intrigued by the college game's schemes, particularly no-huddle spread schemes like Oregon's. He would also likely dumb down anything he does for the college ranks, because despite the THIS GUY persona, Gruden is a very intelligent person.

    But who's to say he's even good at simplification? The persistent critique of offensive-minded college coaches moving up to the NFL -- that their systems are simple, and won't work with the speed of the league -- is often true, but also often true in reverse. Simplification is a skill in itself, and one that is a key differentiator between the resumes of college and pro coaches. Charlie Weis may have learned this the hard way in his time at Notre Dame. Then again, based on his experiences at Florida and Kansas since then, maybe he learned nothing. DISREGARD.

    4. He has shown no interest in the job. But but but but but but--nope. The only pro coach with more attendant college fantasies is Bill Cowher, who has been associated with the NC State job for almost a decade. Rex Ryan also has college fantasies. These are very, very different and not pertinent or appropriate to the scope of this piece or this website.

    5. This is the best kind of lie -- a big, shiny persistent one. This is the same rumor not just from Tennessee's last coaching search, but from the one before it that brought Lane Kiffin for one very strange year. Despite all debunking, despite all evidence to the contrary, the John Birch Society of Coaching Rumors still passes this pamphlet out, and people continue to believe it. Did you hear the story about the coach the lady picked up, and treated like a pet, and then it turned out to be a rat, and not a chihuahua? Jon Gruden is the Mexican Pet of college coaching search rumors. I can tell you a hundred times that it is not real, and yet there you are, insisting it will happen, and perhaps also telling me that your aunt really did have a Shithead, Orangejello, and Lemonjello all in her first grade class. Sure she did.

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    1. Norv Turner

    2. That guy who dresses up as Batman and assaults people at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

    3. Kurt and Kyle Busch in a horse costume

    4. Romeo Crennel

    5. Steven Reed of Weber State University

    6. Uwe Boll

    7. Ron Rivera

    8. Michael Jordan

    9. Liam Gallagher

    10. Billy Gillispie

    11. Bobby Valentine

    12. A DVD of Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day

    13. Matt Millen. As a coach. Matt Millen as a real live coach of something.

    14. Norv Turner. Yes, we know this is in here twice.

    15. Norv Turner. Three times, actually.

    16. Randy Edsall in an Atlasphere.

    17. Kimbo Slice

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    SHOUTOUTS TO BOBBY PRUETT. We did an interview with the geniuses behind My Brother My Brother And Me, who said that the most underutilized name for a team is "Gun." Couldn't agree more.

    Bobby Pruett, damn you and your loose zones.

    MORA DAMN EAGLE. Charlie Strong interviewed for the Auburn job, and then he didn't, and this all made Charlie Strong very, very angry. And if you look at the photo with this post, you will see that you really won't like Charlie Strong when he's angry, because he's basically the black Hulk with brains and a high-collared shirt on at all times.

    The focus at Auburn is reportedly on Petrino, but the dark horse name in the search remains Jim Mora, a favorite of some boosters and someone with everything Auburn is reportedly looking for: NFL experience, an actual college head coaching tenure now, and the ability to develop NFL talent. The latter has been one of the more substantial criticisms of Gene Chizik's tenure: both Nick Fairley and Cam Newton were JUCO transfers, and after four years the only prospects from this year's team are Phillip Lutzenkirchen and Corey Lemonier (if he decides to go into the draft.)

    In a state with Nick Saban's Loutish Academy For Hang Clean Enthusiasts just cranking out whole classes of NFL draft picks, it is a legitimate concern for anyone wanting to eke out a living recruiting football players. Whether Mora's interested or not is unknown. ACTUAL NEWSY CONTENT OVER.

    NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING. Having just helped along the rumormongering, let's just go ahead and remind you that no one knows anything, and that Arkansas Expats has a very handy guide reminding you of all that and more.

    INTRIGUE AND HOT SEX IN CINCINNATI. The last part is totally inaccurate, since no one in Cincinnati has ever had sex, much less hot sex. They do have a football team and intrigue, though, since Godfrey went there to do an expansion piece and ended up getting utterly lost in the fog of realignment.

    MARK RICHT IS SELF-AWARE. And totally knows about the Mark Richt Has Lost Control meme.

    IMAGINE. You're telling us that students don't get excited about playing Western Carolina? Why, I nevah. It is a brutal indicator of how bad Auburn has been this year that the only school to draw fewer Alabama students into the stands for a game was Western Carolina, and that Ole Miss was apparently a bigger deal than Bama's most-hated rival.

    SHALLOW CROSS, SIRS. Brophy has Noel Mazzone (and his stellar lip-topper) explaining the marvels of Shallow Cross.

    ETC: Hank Langdon never killed a man what didn't deserve it. The Geoducks' song doesn't seem to really be about Geoducks, does it? Japaaaaaaaaaan.

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    Part two, delayed by life and a real unwillingness to write it.

    1. I'm writing this four days late mostly because I didn't want to write it, because Florida State is the last game of the season, and the last game of the season is the last game of the season. There are no more after it, and then you play a bowl game, and then after that you sit around making shit up for eight months waiting for it to happen again. Eight months is almost enough time to conceive a life, and write As I Lay Dying five times with a short story's worth of material left over. Eight months is a loooooooong fucking time.

    2. (Antonio Morrison knocks E.J. Manuel into the next hemisphere.)

    3. Eight months--punctuated by one lonely bowl game, spring practice, and the fax-machine obsession that is signing day--is nothing I want to think about right now for that reason, but not that reason alone. I had to resort to mock science to figure out why.


    4. I know it says eleven wins, but seriously I have no idea how those eleven wins happened, particularly the wins in weeks one, two, seven, nine, and ten. Against Bowling Green, Texas A&M, Georgia, Missouri, and Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida resembled a diabetic, overweight George St. Pierre, seemingly unaware that football games cannot be won by decision, and that the scorecard at the top of the stadium is the only judge. There is not such thing as a real diabetic, overweight GSP, but if you just imagined it in the tiny black MMA hot pants? You're welcome.

    5. (Sharrif Floyd throws a Florida State lineman three feet to the left, chases Manuel like a bear chasing a slow infant.)

    6. Even in victories, Florida's totem video game spirit was this:


    Heavy Weapons Guy doesn't believe in a lot of things: getting out to quick leads, or hurrying, or doing anything not included in the plan. He doesn't believe in getting creative, or even much in the way of tactics, cunning, or guile. HWG has a gun. It has ammo--way more ammo than you have, and way bigger and nastier when it rains out of its barrel. The plan is to discharge it all and wait for you to do the same. Some are smarter, yes. But Will Muschamp football has yet to meet smartypants who can outsmart bullet.*

    *Bullet is nickname for Matt Elam. Goes wherever it wants. Kills bystanders from time to time.

    7. Except for Mark Richt. (Curse stupid Spy Mark Richt for spying ways.)

    8. (Jordan Reed catches a middle screen pass and rumbles 13 yard on 3rd and 12 for a first down.)

    8. This culminated in the month of November, where no one had any clue what Florida football was doing. WE BEAT THE RAGIN' CAJUNS ON OUR HOME FIELD THANKS TO A BLOCKED PUNT. That happened, and what nearly happened--going to overtime against a very game Louisiana-Lafayette team--would have been so much worse than what already was baffling and inexplicable and very nearly unwatchable. There were also long, stultifying hours called the Mizzou and Jacksonville State games. The less said of any of these, the better.

    9. So pardon anyone watching for passing out when Florida came out against FSU--preseason winning, five-star recruit flooded Florida State, the team returning to form for the fourth year in a row--and scored on their first possession. Three points, yes, but math ain't never won a football game, has it perfesser? You should read this in Will Muschamp's voice, preferably with that laconic eat-shit-and-die face he gets when asked about "Look-back" offenses or Padawans.

    10. (Marcus Roberson picks a pass out of nowhere.)

    11. And pardon them a second time if, after watching Florida State turn into a Jimbo Fisher's best rushing attack in his tenure in 2012, the FSU offense didn't morph into a shambolic elderly cat, coughing up turnovers like so many beslimed hairballs on the green carpet of Ron Zook Field. Florida State, for going on something like a decade now, has recruited the same quarterback every year, a talented, mobile dual-threat who under pressure goes to ribbons and starts all but handing the ball to the defense.

    12. (Lerentee McCray bats a pass in the air, giggles.)

    13. Was Chris Weinke the last distinct FSU quarterback? This is a serious question. They blend together into one create-a-player with different skins and detailing, one big Rix-a-Weatherford-Lee-Manuel-a-Pondersaurus. Add any two of them together, and you get one of the other three.

    14. Because nothing was unsurprising about this year, the Seminoles countered in the second half, and this is where November appeared seconds from spawning a monstrous loss to Florida State, and in the same bitter, evil fashion of the Georgia game. You give the ball to the opponent, and more often than not they have a tendency to score with it, and suddenly the score was 20-13 at the end of the third.

    15. (Jeff Driskel scrambles with a mangled ankle, somehow is not killed on the play, throws full across his body for a completion.)

    16. Bjoern Werner was all over that third quarter. It was fun to joke about him being Florida State fans' favorite player not just because he was white, but because he was German, and thus the Neo-Nazi prototype of Seminoles' fans dreams. The part about him being a Teutonic killing machine is not funny anymore: he is, and he laid the kind of sack on a quarterback that is our favorite, the front side, truck plowing through your living room, and right in the jaw and through you to the ground.

    17. Then the oddest thing happened: Florida, out to a lead and overtaken for the first time, counter-counterpunched. It was not a desperate edge tiptoed to the finish, but a a rain of anvils and whole chunks of iron. Field goal, turnover, Gillislee TD, long punt return, passing TD, to Dunbar, and then the meanest part of all, backup running back Matt Jones emptying the cartridge with a 32 yard TD to go up 37-20.

    18. (Matt Jones runs laughing through flailing FSU defenders.)

    19. Twenty-four points in the fourth quarter, the quarter Florida had owned in 11 of 12 games this year, the hammer applied on the road and applied late and with great cruelty: that was this game, as long as the call from the front desk up to room 425 at the Hilton Garden Inn making sure that no one was being killed in my room.

    20. You finish some seasons with clarity, or dread of what is to come, or even--on very rare occasions--with something like elation. This year it's hard to feel anything but stunned appreciation for the tenacity, the patient bastard cruelty of this team. At times, they appeared to be a team of hunger artists, surviving on as little as possible and advancing by the slimmest of margins. Half of the games felt like grim procedure, marginal games played at the margins by design.


    21. The other half: knuckle-dragging exhibitions of sheer malice, conducted with the highest degree of savagery we've ever seen associated with Florida football. They baited opponents into the fourth quarter, playing a game whose sole focus was maximizing pain--sometimes for you the viewer, but more often for the team on the other side of the football. I have seen better Florida teams in terms of skill, power, and utter devastation capacity. The 2008 team toward the end of the season was a death machine, vaporizing people before the half and capable of deep brutality of its own. The 1996 team evaporated opponents without dampening a headband.

    22. I have never, ever seen a tougher Florida football team. Never. And at the end, where you don't care about the next game, or the next opponent, or national title chances being bounced around other quarters of the college football world, that should be enough. It is for this team and the metaphor of your choice to describe it: the whip-scarred mule that didn't die in the mines, the fighter who doesn't wake up until blood starts running into their eyes. I don't know if anything can describe it, but the sight itself is probably enough. Heavy Weapons Guy just keeps firing, and firing, and firing. The fight will be right there when you're ready. And even if you win, smart guy, you'll bleed. Oh how you'll bleed.

    23. (Dominique Easley does his whole postgame interview talking about the black pit of pain in his heart he wanted an opponent to feel while eating from a gigantic tub of animal crackers.)

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    OH MAN.

    So emotional in the Big East this morning, particularly when it means Louisville goes to a BCS bowl. That's Shawn Watson and Teddy Bridgewater having a moment in the tunnel following Bridgewater's one-legged, one-armed performance against Rutgers in a Big East title-capping victory last night in Piscataway. It really was remarkable to watch, even if the entire comeback--Louisville was down 14-3 at the half--was sparked by Rutgers punting from the Louisville 31 after a penalty-foiled fake field goal. That is what happens when you punt from the 31: life punishes you, and turns a crippled Teddy Bridgewater into doom on one leg. (Via)

    BIGFOOT IS NOT REAL. But that chicken, Tennessee fans? It needs fucking, and you're the ones to do it.

    THE OBVIOUS QUESTION. Is Nick Saban going to be fired immediately after winning what will be only his second SEC title at Alabama? It's hard to say, but Doug seems to think it's a done deal. So unsure of whether he's the right man for the job, Paul.

    BOWLS ARE FOR SALADS AND LOSERS. Ohio State seems to be fine with not going to a bowl, or at least still has the savory aftertaste of the Gator Bowl lingering on their palates a year later. That flavor is burnt coffee and ammonia, Ohio State fans. Not even Four Loko will burn it off your tongue.

    SPEAKING OF: We talked to some people last weekend at tailgates in Columbus, including a woman who misappropriates emergency vehicles for recreational purposes.

    ETC: Heavy artillery and NASCAR drivers in suburban neighborhoods? Sounds delightful. XKCD is trying to make us cry this morning. David Whitley is on THUGPATROL.

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    It could still happen! It could! They want you to give up hope, Tennessee! That's exactly what "they" want you to do!

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    I don't think Sporting News columnist David Whitley is a racist. Racism, like alcoholism, playing golf, or any other scourge of our existence, takes energy, work and organization. You have to be able to see racism not just in obvious things, but in the smallest things imaginable. It takes real work to be that consistently crazy -- misguided, insane work, but still.

    David Whitley is too lazy for that, and calling him racist would be an affront to hard-working, creative racists everywhere. (Say what you will about racism: it takes tremendous amounts of mental energy. Not skill, but energy.) David Whitley is lazy, and has been lazy before: in discussing same-sex kissing in public, in writing about Ndamukong Suh and the Lions, and now in writing about Colin Kaepernick's tattoos, and whatever arbitrary meaning he can attach to them. (Hint: they're just for convicts, just like they were in 1982.)

    Whitley would excuse this by claiming to be a curmudgeon, the aging, grumpy, and sharp-tongued bastard among excitable young folks pointing out the uselessness and hypocrisy of life as we know it. This would be fine if he had the chops to be a curmudgeon in the tradition of H.L. Mencken, Dave Barry, Florence King, Dorothy Parker or the lord supreme of curmudgeonry, Ambrose Bierce.

    *Bierce topped them all with the ultimate death: suicide by disappearance, because the rest of humanity wasn't even worth notifying about the method of death, much less where the body is.

    Whitley can't claim curmudgeon as a defense for a simple reason: he's not smart enough, and certainly not brave enough. The brave thread to pull from the Kaepernick story would have been detailing tattoos as one facet of a changing American identity: multiracial, harder to define than ever before, and perhaps wearing some body art. Whitley clearly missed the part of the 1990s where everyone got tattoos, including Guy Fieri.

    That would be moderately brave. Being braver still would be an admission that the "Dutch Boy" past of NFL quarterbacks was always a lie willingly believed by the columnists themselves: that black athletes were shunted away from the quarterback position for no other reason that they were black, and that the bold lie of those corporate quarterbacks of yesteryear concealed Kenny Stabler, Joe Namath, and every other undercompensated alcoholic who drank to calm the ringing in their heads, and took prehistoric methamphetamine to wake up in the morning. And ever braver would be admitting that some part of that still appealed to your worst, weakest instincts.

    That is one direction a curmudgeon could take, but David Whitley is not a curmudgeon, and never will be for one simple reason: the last person a curmudgeon would trust is the curmudgeon themselves. Everyone is suspect to the curmudgeon, a constant work to see what's in front of one's nose, as another noted curmudgeon once put it. Doing this requires a lot of time, effort, and bitter work. Maybe David Whitley should become a devoted racist; it certainly requires more of a work ethic than what he does now.

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    To ease the minds of those frightened and appalled by tattoos on NFL quarterbacks, we have created the ideal tattoos of eight NFL quarterbacks currently without significant subversive skin decorations. There is also Norv Turner because Norv Turner with a tattoo is a great idea no matter what we're talking about.

    1. Phillip Rivers.


    2. Blaine Gabbert


    3. Ben Roethlisberger


    4. Rex Grossman


    5. Andrew Luck


    6. RG3


    7. Brandon Weeden


    8. Norv Turner


    9. Tom Brady


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    1. Discover BCS Title Game: Alabama vs. Notre Dame. Duh. Were he not a good person, we would love it if Manti Te'o went on the banquet tour, gained four hundred pounds, and forced Alabama into passing the ball simply by clogging the middle of the defense like a burning school bus in a street riot. But you know the funniest future five hundred pound man of the Alabama team is A.J. McCarron, mostly because the chest tattoo would spread into something resembling a medieval streetmap of imperial Moscow. He's from Alabama: you just need enough corn syrup and humid torpor, and if Alabama's got two things, it's corn syrup and humid torpor.

    2. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon. Chip Kelly could be coaching his last game for Oregon here, but how you'll know is anyone's guess because Oregon will do what they always do: drop the hammer on the afterburners, snap the ball every five seconds, and do their best to profane every notion of Bill Snyder football. Then, they will have to watch Kansas State play, and the hives Chip Kelly may break out into watching cromagnon single-wing football alive on the field in front of him will be real, inflamed, and may require medical treatment. Sounds delightful.


    UCLA is here to put that fire out, and no Jim Mora, no that is gasoline and why are you fine FINE just throw Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin on it. It'll just make more fire, but that's all we watch most bowl games for anyway: fire, violent hits made fifteen yards downfield, and offensive coordinators emptying the most shameful corners of their playbook in the name of IDGAF holiday festivity.

    4. AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma. "God, Landry Jones sucks so hard," says every Sooner fan after they lose a thrilling 42-38 game to the Aggies because the Sooner defense couldn't get Manziel off the field, and not because Landry Jones threw for 400 yards and four TDs in a losing effort. Note: this will be exactly what happens here.

    5. Discover Orange Bowl: NIU at Florida State. Les Miles' tenure at Michigan has been immensely successful, and since Kirk Herbstreit is clairvoyant about everything, this blowout will be the heartwarming return to form Florida State has been looking for since the beginnings of the late Bowden period.* MACTION FOREVER.

    *Just watching to see if NIU somehow stays on the field with Florida State is worth the effort alone.

    6. Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Les vs. Dabo can only mean the convergence of two totally random football weather patterns, and you, the viewer, benefit no matter what happens.

    1. Clemson victory: upend Clemsoning meme, incoherent, whaharlrgarbling Dabo postgame speech.
    2. Clemson loss: upset Daboface, chesty Les Miles postgame speech.
    3. LSU blowout: Barkevious Mingo wearing an unconscious Tajh Boyd like a mink stole in the trophy presentation.

    There's really no way this goes bad, particularly since Les might say something like "YOU KISS THAT MAN ON THE MOUTH" under the banner of Chick-Fil-A sponsorship.

    7. Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Kent State. The SunBelt/MAC firestorm that might as well be titled "The EDSBS Pants Embargo Bowl," featuring eight thousand yards of offense, at least five comical turnovers, a sparse crowd, a Gulf Coast location, and two announcers desperately trying to sell this as the undercard for the national title game. Heaven is a real place, and it has its own derelict battleship floating in the harbor.

    8. Gator Bowl. CLANGA versus Northwestern is one of the more dramatic culture clashes on tap in bowl season, but this presupposed the existence of Northwestern fans who will deign to travel to Jacksonville for any reason. ("Breckinridge is calling, and Sea Island is booked anyway, dear.") A passing team versus a rushing team, two large-headed aggro-males at head coach, and the kind of desperation gambling on fakes and playcalls one can only get between two teams who really, really need this second-tier bowl money.

    9. Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. Nevada. This game contains the nation's number one and number two rushers in Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson, and zero ability by either team to keep them from grotesque yardage against mediocre run defenses. Nevada has the excuse of being Nevada, while Arizona is suffering from the autoimmune disorder contracted by Rich Rodriguez in a loss to Dave Wannstedt's Pitt squad in 2007. (Please handle all Wannstedt contamination with appropriate biohazard measures.) Plague monkey of the Pac-12 or not, watching Arizona has been fun all season, and Nevada is basically that same plague monkey working out of the pistol.

    10. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Ragin' Cajuns vs. ECU7t7ey_medium

    Rusty Whitt will be there, and that should be enough for you because Rusty Whitt knows where you live. Throw in two really fun, nasty teams, drunkass ECU fans in New Orleans, and Ruffin McNeil sweating his ass off in sixty degree indoor conditions in the Superdome, and you'll get the league leader in janked-up toy bowl season entertainment. Bonus: RAP GAME HARRY PEOPLES IS PLAYING. (AKA normal person Harry Peoples, wide receiver for the Cajuns.)

    11. Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon State. You know what the weirdest thing we can say about Texas' 2012 season is? That they're playing Oregon State in a bowl game, and that Oregon State has the better record and the advantage in a game being played in the world's largest aluminum garden shed?

    12. Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Michigan. We feel confident in saying this: if South Carolina does not literally hand four touchdowns to Michigan, then they should pave the Wolverines and leave them as a happy memory in the roadbed for horrified archaeologists of the future to find. This being South Carolina, they could totally do this in a bowl game, though any and all losses in that department might be offset by Michigan's offense. Al Borges likes to work out his feelings in coordinated armored interpretive dance. This second down rollout play-action pass is him telling you that more than anything, Al Borges lives so that he can can die without regrets. (Translation: this will be an utter mess, but an entertaining one.)

    13. Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford. Stanford runs so many linemen on a given play that any offensive call looks like a fake field goal, and that has turned out to be way more entertaining than we previously thought it would be. Wisconsin will run the same play twenty times in a row. It will look like this.

    Stanford is the American fighter Don Frye, Wisconsin is Yoshihiro Takayama, and tradition will be played by "the Big Ten losing a Rose Bowl."

    14. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo versus Utah State. Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton is fun, but would have been more fun had he and Utah State finished off the upset attempt versus Wisconsin and gotten a transitive Big Ten Championship out of the deal. (Jim Delany was this close to inviting them, and everyone else in the nation.) Fun fact: Gary Andersen turned down better jobs to stay in Logan Utah, thus proving Gary Andersen is "Big Deuce," gun-running contraband baron wanted by the ATF since 1999. Toledo coach Matt Campbell is 33 years old. You are a colossal failure at life and everything else.

    15. Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy vs. Arizona State. Like many bowl games, this is clearly an XBox matchup you use while playing all-time offensive coordinator because lol, spread team versus flexbone for days. Navy will lose as it always does--on a last minute two point conversion--but even if you know the script the execution is undeniably compelling. ASU defensive tackle Will Sutton has a weird way of showing his patriotism. That weird way will be swallowing B-backs whole at the line of scrimmage, but we can't tell you how or how not to love America. (Especially if you are Willie Sutton.)

    16. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse vs. West Virginia. The first time these two teams have ever played, and that's pretty neat.* Prince-Tyson Gulley, Syracuse running back, should start every game with fifty yards rushing based on name alone, and thanks to facing the West Virginia defense in this game he basically does. Syracuse probably doesn't want to get into a shootout, and that is too bad because Dana Holgorsen just asked you to wait for a second while he went in the bank and whoops now you're the getaway car driver whether you like it or not.

    *NEVER HAPPENED, says West Virginia fan holding us at musketpoint.

    17. Capital One: Georgia vs. Nebraska. The Richt Bowl Game factor wipes out any guarantees of Nebraska splashing eight yards backwards at the snap like they did in the Big Ten title game. Then again, even if Bo Pelini's defense scatters like London orphans during the Blitz in the bowl game, it was still gripping viewing because my god what the hell happened to Nebraska. Taylor Martinez is entertaining, as well, mostly because there's at least three Taylor Martinez's, and they are all delightful to watch. (We prefer Ghastly Interception Taylor Martinez, but he hasn't made too many appearances lately.)

    18. Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech. One of the better defensive-minded games of the bowl season, particularly if you want to see Logan Thomas play "how many kindergartners does it take to tackle Logan Thomas."

    19. Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville. Florida has been one of the least photogenic dominant teams in college football in 2012, and playing a potentially coachless football team with a banged-up starter in the Sugar Bowl won't add to that rep. On the positive side, the game does feature a key matchup between the desperately burnable object and the wet lighter: Louisville's occasional atrocity of a secondary versus Florida's wingless pheasant of a passing attack. This could be bad for you, but it will be so much worse for Teddy Bridgewater.

    P.S. Odds that Matt Elam tackles a police horse postgame: 1/1

    20. Autozone Liberty Bowl: Tulsa vs. Iowa State. If you know what's going to happen between Tulsa and Iowa State, you are probably a person with too many definite opinions about silly things. The really important thing with the Liberty Bowl: the halftime show, which for the ninth and cruelest year in a row is NOT Three Six Mafia.


    21. Hyundai Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. USC. Middle Tennessee beat this Georgia Tech team, but the Blue Raiders do tend to think of themselves as "the USC of Rutherford County." The Georgia Tech defense has to defend Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. The Georgia Tech defense will have their severed head attached to a turtle rigged with explosives by the end of the second quarter. Tortuga!

    22. Belk Bowl: Cincy vs. Duke. A headless Cincy team (assuming Butch Jones is hired away by Colorado or Purdue) and a Duke team that lost its last four and skidded onto the runway of bowl season on fire and leaking gasoline onto the deck? We're not saying it will be "football." But accidental entertainment involving footballesque events, and a frowning David Cutcliffe? You could do worse, particularly when LEVITICUS PAYNE will be present.

    23. Military Bowl: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green. Remember when SJSU almost beat Stanford in week one, and the college football world was like, LOL STANFART? San Jose State won ten games after that, and will now finish the season in the same place a Rick Neuheisel UCLA team once staggered to the finish in when it was called "The EagleBank Bowl." Bowling Green has a lovely defense, and the combination of the two beneath leaden DC skies means this game is basically the sunless discount version of the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl.

    24. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Vanderbilt's exciting take-out dinner of a bowl! NC State, going into this game with an interim head coach, has nothing to lose in this bowl game, and that makes them really dangerous since they might just swap out the bowl bid and let LA Tech play in their uniforms. (And shit, wouldn't that be confusing as hell since you're spent a month watching film of Dana Bible's three yard crossing patterns and third and draw plays.)

    25. Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Rice vs. Air Force. ETHICS BOWL. Air Force is always entertaining triple-option grittitude. Rice lost to Memphis this season, and be honest: much like the person who marries a disastrous, criminally insane ex, you want to see what that looks like for all the wrong reasons, but still have see it nonetheless. (P.S. Losing to Memphis should disqualify you from getting a bowl game, and also affect your school's credit rating.)

    26. Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky. The good news for the Chips: they're probably only going to get slaughtered in front of fifty or so people, max. This bowl game is in Detroit, so you might receive the deed to an abandoned public school in your gift bag.

    27. Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl: Fresno State vs. SMU. All an elaborate plot by SMU to leave June Jones in the hands of Hawaiian triad members who would really, really like to discuss a few business deals left undone with Mr. Jones prior to his departure to the mainland.

    28. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue vs. Oklahoma State. "I like to watch things die."

    29. MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: Washington vs. Boise State. Boise's least entertaining edition in memory plays a Washington team that a.) beat Stanford, and b.) lost to Washington State. Boise will win, but how that happens probably shouldn't be any of your business, along with how the scared body of Keith Price's terrifying 2012 season gets buried in the desert.

    30. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State vs. BYU. BYU played not one, but two games where neither team reached double digits in points: that 7-6 loss to Boise State, and a 6-3 win over Utah State. San Diego State cannot pass the ball to any degree beyond that which may be considered "accidental." Watch this at your own risk, including the halftime show which is "holiday themed" and involves unnamed performers. It's probably Kenny Chesney, college football's tiniest and most persistent camwhore, because it is always Kenny Chesney.

    31. Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Ohio vs. ULM. The 2012 War Damn Hawk movement meets an unfortunate end in the Independence Bowl against Ohio, the FBS team bold enough to ask: can every categorical ranking of ours be exactly average? (Answer: almost!) Could be a very competitive game for the fans and the team on the field, because feral cats own Shreveport, and will guard their prime territory inside the stadium jealously.

    32. BBVA Compass Bowl: Pitt vs. Ole Miss. Just watch this instead. Trust us. If it helps, imagine the oncoming cars are Ole Miss football.

    33. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State.


    "Hey guys, whaddya think? Is that a game-clinching safety to end this miserable assheap of a football game at 4-2? Or do you want overtime?"


    "We were wondering if you could just flood the room with deadly Sarin nerve gas, killing all of us who just lost all will to live by watching this game, and indeed any other game involving Michigan State this year."


    "No problem."



    34. Beef O'Brady's Bowl: UCF vs. Ball State. We stayed in the team hotel for this bowl game once. Memphis players spent the whole night trying to fuck drunk middle-aged ladies straying away from a sorority reunion, and we sneaked onto the field for USF's celebration without security saying a word to us. This has nothing to do with this game, and frankly neither should you.

    35. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota. Nope.

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  • 12/04/12--06:53: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 12/4/2012
  • Gyi0062941822

    BUT IT COULD STILL HAPPEN. Every year. Every freaking year.

    HOOTIN' DALE MABRY BOULEVARD.The Houston Nutt to USF movement is real, and it is already spectacular. Be honest: as horrendous as the Houston Nutt Gravitron ride can be, his worst years would be better than Holtz's best at USF. (Plus, seriously: his teams play their asses off at least every other game. Like, at LEAST half the time.) He will also offer shelter to all your partial qualifiers. How many partial qualifiers? ALL OF THE PARTIAL QUALIFIERS.

    MARK RICHT HAS REGAINED CONTROL OF MARK RICHT. Chuck Oliver, the local talk radio host who asked Mark Richt about losing big games immediately after losing a big game, has apologized for his remarks. Now residents of Georgia can focus on the important things in public life.

    BUTCH JONES IS NOT STUPID. Evidence: he will not be going to Purdue. Google probably helped that.

    BOOOOOOOM. Two VT players were arrested after setting off a bomb near their apartment, and somewhere Dan Kendra smiles knowingly. When asked about it, offensive coordinator Brian Stinespring mumbled, shoved two pieces of asparagus up his nose, and said "WHAT WOULD I KNOW ABOUT EXPLOSIVE PLAYS I CAN'T WORK A MICROWAVE OR ZONE READ."

    JOHNNY MANZIEL IS ENJOYING HIS LIFE. And will be for quite some time.

    AGREED. Ohio State probably should have been playing in the Big Ten Championship, especially because its ratings were lackluster and could have used the Eleven Warriors bump badly. That being a Vice article, it does end with Jim Tressel snorting hallucinogenic root powder with the Yanamamo. (And then having his location leaked via metadata.)

    THIS MAN IS VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE INDEPENDENCE BOWL. A naked man in Shreveport is nothing to laugh about, because he's probably at least 250 pounds of American glory. Another thing not to laugh at: the fiasco surrounding La Tech and their disappearance from the bowl schedule.

    THE DAMN STUBBORN IRISH. Greg Jordan takes the Irish for what they are:stubborn, thorny, and completely unwilling to let the outside world matter.

    ETC: Katt Williams seems to be making good decisions.

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