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    And just when you thought the sun had set on Skip Bayless, it rises again to start a new day (full of whatever Skip Bayless does.)

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    The LSU backfield remains one of the most dangerous places in college football, a diving platform nine hundred feet in the air for incoming talent. Hit the water clean, and the high scores of the judges will get you into the NFL for at least a few years, and possibly even secure you a nice league pension. Slip sideways or fail to get a full rotation, and you hit back-first and ruin your chances at a pro career, or much, much worse.

    The most legendary example of not sticking the landing: Cecil Collins, the LSU running back who had four terrifying games as starter in 1997 before breaking his leg, wandering into ladies' rooms twice without invitations, and then being removed from the team prior to the 1998 season. Collins was still drafted by Jimmy Johnson because he was very talented, and also because Jimmy Johnson would have drafted the Green River Killer if he liked the way he threw a post route.* Collins is still in jail on other charges, and won't get out until February 2014.

    *FYI: UDFA, Dolphins class of '99. Cut because he had asthma. --ed

    The most recent example is running back Jeremy Hill, suspended indefinitely for his part in an off-campus fight. That role allegedly involved him punching a man with enough force to knock him unconscious, which would be Hill's second brush with the law after an arrest for oral sexual battery that delayed his enrollment at LSU a year. As a part of the probation resulting from that prior case, Hill was to refrain from "criminal conduct."

    While LSU took official action, new details in a Baton Rouge police report disclosed additional details of the fight at Reggie’s Bar in Tigerland, including Hill and a second suspect reportedly exchanging a high-five after attacking a male victim from behind and the running back denying he’d been at the bar.

    That's probably something that qualifies as criminal activity, and criminal activity reportedly caught on more than one cellphone video. In the great divide between Keiland Williams, Stevan Ridley, Joseph Addai, Jacob Hester and every other denizen of the LSU backfield pulling down a respectable NFL paycheck, there's a polar opposite:

    Ryan Perriloux: Currently trying to throw knuckleballs on an MLB reality show.

    Jamarcus Russell: Currently throwing knuckleballs without effort as an unsigned NFL free agent. Is Jamarcus Russell.

    Justin Vincent: Working at LSU in player development after having one of the weirder career trajectories ever at the school, a job which makes perfect sense for him, actually. Good on you, sir.

    Spencer Ware: taken in the sixth round after a positive synthetic marijuana test led to a suspension along with Tyrann Mathieu, all of which happened after he did the usual LSU running back thing of looking like an unstoppable diesel water buffalo and then doing something like failing a drug test and getting his hypertalented ass into the sixth damn round.

    Matt Flynn: Europe's most notorious art thief. Also a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, the perfect cover for anyone who wants to disappear completely, and do things like steal art for a living. He hasn't been caught yet, but when he does you'll see why he's on this list.

    It constitutes nothing close to a curse. Louisiana has strict standards for those written into the Napoleonic Code, and when they do curses, they do them with a real lasting stank on 'em. It is Louisiana in microcosm: when it's good, it's really, really good. When it goes off the rails, it doesn't stop until it hits bottom, and then perhaps gets involved in a riverboat casino counterfeiting scheme.

    P.S. Addai had a nice run, even though he is an unsigned free agent at the moment. He does have the weirdest Wiki hack of the day, however:


    Bill Belichick only wants the alt-est running backs.

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  • 04/30/13--07:25: IT'S ASK COACH GUNDY TUESDAY
  • Gundy

    If it's Tuesday, it's time to ask Mike Gundy questions on Twitter because he said he would answer at least three of them today like the visored genie he is. We got the obvious ones out of the way first, but there's no reason why you can't ask the Oklahoma State coach yourself what his age and gender are, because they have not been verified by the source itself in quite some time. Please contribute to this important research, and advance the course of Gundy Studies, which is probably an actual major at Oklahoma State at this point.*

    *Brought to you by the T. Boone Pickens School of Gundy Studies and Amateur Mortuary Certificates.

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    I will give people credit for a lot of things on sight. If you have a neck tattoo, for instance, you have probably ceased caring about life and limb a long time ago, or at least want the rest of the world to think this. You may also be J.R. Smith, and if you are, you should probably get back to pursuing that lucrative pipe sponsorship just waiting for the picking.

    I'll also give some automatic credit to this man:


    That is an Illinois Rose Bowl jersey, and it is being worn in a Vegas March Madness setting to advertise someone's deep and everlasting ardor for a team that lost 49-17 in bloody, lopsided fashion to USC in 2008. (Oh, poor, poor Juice Williams.) This person is dangerously insane and utterly admirable: admire his splendor in the wild, and maintain a healthy distance should he lunge for an arm or your throat.

    That involves some degree of action. For whatever reason (a brain lesion, most likely), that person decided an Illinois Rose Bowl shirt was the appropriate garb for gambling on basketball. Yesterday, Jason Collins decided to come out as the first active gay NBA player. There's quite a bit of action in that: being gay can be quite difficult, particularly for a black athlete playing in a professional culture not noted for its tolerance of homosexuality. Collins is undoubtedly happier for it, and more importantly some terrified gay kid playing basketball somewhere probably feels several degrees better about his prospects for a happier life.

    This is a net good. It harms no one, and takes one more Alan Turing scenario off the shelf of horrific possibilities. (That's Alan Turing, cryptanalyst, mathematician, war hero, and five-tool genius who killed himself after being prosecuted for homosexuality in Great Britain.) Jason Collins is a hero to someone in the positive, and deserves some amount of credit for his actions. Assign it as you will, bankers of virtue, but the dude is owed something for his effort, even if there's a memoir, film rights, talk show appearances, or whatever other semi-lucrative media deals may be attached to it.

    That takes some degree of work, effort, and expenditure of life energy. Sports have an appeal because they involve a certain degree of parsimony: there is a score, and a result, and hierarchies appear naturally. The Charlotte Bobcats, bless their still very well-paid hearts, cannot demand respect for being merely "Charlotte" or "Bobcat." They are a basketball team, and a very bad one. For a few hours, results are earned, and an illusion of meritocracy reigns.

    I'm an atheist. Let's get that out of the way here. I'm not an evangelical atheist. I am in the [null set] category of happy atheists, closer to the Douglas Adams absurdist club than the Richard Dawkins school of wandering into elementary schools, explaining that there is no Santa or God, and then tearing down the looped rings of red and green construction paper over the door. Being an atheist means I don't go to meetings, and don't care if you do. This country was founded by a lot of cantankerous people who disagreed on everything, and some of them desperately wanted the freedom to enjoy their hangovers on Sunday morning without the interference of what for me has always been at best a neverending lecture series on the same book, and perhaps some donuts afterwards.*

    *Are you religious? Great! I hope it makes you very happy. I'm okay with this unless it affects public policy or when I can drink alcohol. Mostly the latter, to be honest. Also, donuts are very good, and you should enjoy them wherever and whenever you please.

    This is one reason why one of the few remaining taboos for an athlete -- a public and unhedged atheism -- is not even remotely comparable to Collins' decision to be publicly gay. It is actually a choice, and also mostly because they don't have to: a huge portion of the population is Christian, or at least some kind of churchy, and atheism in one respect consists of not doing a lot of things rather than doing certain things. You bow your head to pray at the invocation, and I don't. I have cheered at prayers before, notably this one, the single greatest prayer in the history of human civilization. You thank the Lord in your postgame, and we'd probably follow Ron Artest by thanking our psychiatrist, and then reminding everyone of our upcoming single, "Champion."

    So if Chris Broussard goes on ESPN and insists homosexuality is a sin, he is technically right: under the definitions of his particular brand of Christianity, it is a sin to be homosexual. If he is being completist, so are a whole other list of tired responses you can take from Leviticus and the "Beginner's Book of Strident Atheism," but this isn't a dorm room or r/atheism, and it is not 3 a.m. Sin isn't a relevant topic ever in sports unless we're talking about wearing a jersey as an adult male, and that falls under "Crimes against fashion and age" more than any religious code.

    The relevant part is that Chris Broussard is responding to Jason Collins' proven, actual gesture of taking a small step toward changing the public definition of a happy, healthy gay man by citing his religion. In return, there is no counter-argument to be made. Our conversation is over before it ever started; you hit the ripcord, pulled the chute, and floated out of the argument on a cloud of faith. It's a terrible discussion, but it makes Chris Broussard feel better about himself, and that is evidently pretty important to Chris Broussard.

    In contrast, a broadcaster for a major network reached for the parachute, pulled the cord, and had the cartoon sack full of camping gear fly out on descent.

    He is also, in a sense, completely right. In theory, that all means nothing in today's culture. It should have meant nothing 50 years ago, and 100 years ago. Those labels outside of the framework of an individual and their actions mean nothing.

    That is one of the great levellers in sport: the triumph of experience over label, of evidence over myth. You can debate whether Joe Flacco is elite all day, but a large, shiny ring on his finger and his brilliant playoff stretch and three TD performance in the Super Bowl at least put him on a very short list at the moment. Ty Cobb was a reprehensible human being, but he was a great baseball player, and that shred of professional virtue can never be torn out of the woven horrormask of his being. Tim Tebow is one of the nicest human beings you will ever meet, and he will never, ever throw a football that does not look like pizza dough hurled from a kitchen into the dining room in anger. The Reverend Bill Parcells is right: you are what your record says you are, and the rest is mere flapping of the facecakes.

    But sure, Tim: being over 50 means by some combination of luck, decent living, and non-stupid behavior, you made it to fifty years on this planet. Suck it, dude who died at 38 of stomach cancer! Scoreboard! Being Christian, as I've said elsewhere, describes attendance, not behavior, to the semi-objective reader. Being male means you have a penis; I'm very proud of Tim Brando for coming out as having a penis. This is bold, and will surely change lives.

    As for raising a family: you elected to have one, and merely saying you raised one doesn't demonstrate anything indicative of innate virtue. (I can say I've fixed cars, but by no means does that indicate they weren't on fire several minutes later.)

    The combination of all of them is correctly valued here, because this is America. I don't give you credit for any of them. I could give you credit for being a successful broadcaster for several decades: that's not easy to do, and to be honest when I really don't want to be, you happen to be pretty good at it. I could give you credit for being a much better fist-pound guy than I am, even with the animated chimpanzee coming out of my shirt. I have bumped fists with you Tim Brando, and you are so very, very good at it that I find myself feeling personally bad for how terrible I am at it. You were kind in an interview setting with me, even though I showed up hungover, unshaven, and probably smelling of fried food. (It was New Orleans. That will happen.)

    That's a forgiving attitude, and a genuinely Christian thing to do. As for demanding credit for merely being you in response to a gay athlete, I honestly have no idea what you mean here. It looks like demanding some inordinate amount of respect for your opinions for the club you happened to be born in, or chose to enter with little to no effort on your part. There should be no guaranteed starting spots on the depth chart in our country. There certainly aren't for Jason Collins, who doesn't have a deal for next year, and will be running the hills with a 30 pound vest on in order to get one more precious year of an NBA income in the bank.

    For someone out there, he is leading. Debate whether he's a hero or not in your world, but he's leading by example for a small subset of people who need examples, and doing so positively: with love, and work, and still more work. The two are ultimately indistinguishable when done right, and what they leave behind is the capacity to pass that work forward. I know what Jason Collins is doing, and has done, will be the work of life. I don't know what people like Broussard and Brando are doing. It might be leading, but it requires neither work nor love by any definition of either.

    This is a story about giving credit where it is due. No one ever said it had to mean the good kind.

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    Tom Keiser continues his look at the evolution of Steve Spurrier by talking with one of his most influential mentors, former Georgia Tech coach Franklin "Pepper" Rodgers. You may know him better as the head coach of the Memphis Showboats, or as one of the only men ever nicknamed "Pepper."

    Pepper Rodgers is one of the most interesting people in college football. A star college football player and later head coach for Georgia Tech, Pepper also coached John Riggins at Kansas, future TV star Mark Harmon at UCLA, and Reggie White while with the USFL’s Memphis Showboats. His personal website is full of amazing stories and photos that are too incredible to describe succinctly.

    Perhaps the greatest football mind Pepper Rodgers is associated with is Steve Spurrier. Pepper was an offensive assistant at Florida while Spurrier was playing. Even though Rodgers left before Spurrier’s Heisman Trophy run in 1966, the two have remained close friends and have coached with and against each other. As director of football operations with the Washington Redskins in the early 2000’s, Pepper was instrumental in bringing Spurrier to the NFL. Pepper was gracious enough to speak with me about The Old Ball Coach, and to give a glimpse of one of the greatest coaches of all time.

    TK: You coached Steve Spurrier as an assistant in Florida. How was Steve recruited by Florida, and did you already think he was something special way back then?

    PR: Steve’s a Tennessee guy but U of T was a single-wing team, and he didn’t want to play that. The University of Florida was a really attractive place (good weather, etc.) but he wanted to play in the T formation, under the center. [The single-wing is] a really famous old offense but they now call it the shotgun, and every one wants to play the shotgun! He was a great punter and a great athlete. Anything that he wanted to play (golf, tennis) and he could punt that ball very accurately and out of bounds. You don’t win the Heisman Trophy without being special, obviously. (laughs) He was a great athlete, too.

    PR: Did you see any parallels between yourself and Steve, as he grew from being a star college quarterback/special teams player to a quality assistant and then a pro and college coach? How well did the two of you work together, first at Georgia Tech and then with the Redskins?

    PR: Steve and I had always liked one another. I proved I could coach good players and proved that I couldn’t coach bad ones. When Steve came to me at GT I paid him the highest compliment and let him call plays; I called plays wherever I’ve been and after so many games I had complete confidence in him and he was obviously very good at it (brave, risk taker, and odds player). I was with [Washington Redskins owner] Dan [Snyder] and Dan knew I was close to Steve and we had tried to hire Steve the year before and he decided to stay the year and when he resigned he wanted to hire Steve and through my association with Steve we went out and hired him. He would’ve been a great NFL coach if he wanted to be but it just didn’t fit with what he is, which is a great college coach. It was a bad fit.

    PR: What traits do you believe the two of you share when it comes to coaching, and how do you differ?

    PR: He believes that you get the job done and you don’t have to bend the rules to win and play by the rules and I think that’s the way Steve’s right on in everything. He’s fair and treats his players fair, and I think I tried to do the same. We like each other, and we won a tennis tournament together while we were both at GT. I think Steve would take more chances than I would but as we get older we don’t take as many chances, but I wouldn’t say we were different in hardly anything. But he’s a risk taker, and not many coaches take as many risks. He’s a scary guy to coach against because he takes those chances.

    TK: Is Steve Spurrier the same vivid, witty personality he is in private that he is in public? What do you think few people know about Steve?

    PR: He’s an upfront guy and he’s very confident in his abilities to get the job done and he’s just a remarkable guy and I don’t think there’s anything that you see in public that he is different from in his private life. He is honest straight forward guy, and a tough guy to coach against because you don’t know what he’ll do when he has the ball. He’ll always makes you unnerved. He’s not a normal guy when on the football field. He’s way above average.

    I’ve told this a lot of times, but there was the time we coached in the USFL and we surprised his team (the Tampa Bay Bandits) with an onside kick after we (the Memphis Showboats) had the lead. Not only did he do it once but he did it twice. He wanted to top his old coach, and son of a gun if he didn’t do two [onside kicks] the next game!

    Follow Tom on Twitter at @keisertroll, or read his piece on "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh" at The Classical.

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  • 05/01/13--07:47: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 5/1/2013
  • Bjh6udwcqaiqmtn

    STEVE ADDAZIO'S COAT COSTS MORE THAN YOUR HOUSE. The Divemaster himself looks like Sergeant Slaughter, but that coat is pure Ric Flair, brother. We continue to wish Steve Addazio the best as a head coach, since he is a nice person, probably a good head coach with a bright future, a superb recruiter, and no don't ever let him near your offense in the redzone, ever. (Via)

    PITT TAKES A BOLD ANTI-HEROIN STANCE. Two players have been kicked off the Pitt football team following their arrest earlier this week on drug charges involving HEROIN. We're typing that in all-caps because it is how your brain will hear it anyway, because holy shit HEROIN. Another, early enrollee Tra'Von Chapman, is suspended for an alleged incident involving an assault on a lady in her home. Paul Chryst is working some things out at the moment; please hold.

    BILL O'BRIEN IS AHEAD OF YOUR PETTY SCHEDULES, NCAA. So if Penn State is ahead of schedule on scholarship reductions, why not bump their whole calendar forward thanks to early compliance? (Answer: "Banana PIaget 45 periwinkle," says the random outcome generator that powers the NCAA.)

    THE EXTREMELY UNSOLID VERBAL. Poor Dan has no Ty this week, so we filled in, and that's where you get us suggesting that Kirk Herbstreit's lustrous all-over tan would make his leaked sex tape the most bearable of all horrible CFB media sex tapes. (Note: the only person who has one is Tim Brando, and his is an entire series that is really closer to historical genre art than pornography. Harlequin Romance in film form, if you will.)

    THE ONLY THING SLOWING US DOWN IS THE REF. With the usual apologies to Gary Danielson, the spread is still very much alive and well.

    ETC: In New Orleans Billy Joel is writing a song right now called "Jazz Fest was fun." This is not an inaccurate review of "Pain and Gain." NEW HOOD INTERNET YAAYYYYYY.

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    Earlier today, Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips tweeted out this picture via the world wide web:

    After being behind the curve on allowing women into the university, integration, and allowing students to bench press during lectures, it is refreshing to see the University of Florida embrace something before other institutions.

    In fact, we're damn proud that the University is embracing the use of horses in human football. It is time we grant the same opportunities to our Equestro-American brethren that we have selfishly held back from them for years, particularly when John Elway, Shannon Sharpe, and so many others who claim Equestro-American roots have given so much to our game.

    It also makes the argument against their participation in our fine sport that much more appalling would come not only from the Big Ten, the self-appointed arbiters of morality in sport, but from the Iowa Hawkeyes, a proud fanbase whose university and state have led the way in so many other civil rights issues.

    Our rebuttal follows.

    1. Horses might be able to catch. They're no more or less proven as pass receivers than the Florida wide receiving corps going into 2013. All they need is a chance to show you they can play. Heard that bit of circular reasoning before? You bet you have. It's time to break the wooden ceiling of that barn you call speciesism.

    2. Horses CAN understand football. If Ray Goff, the greatest eohippus in sports history, can play it, then a horse can master it.

    3. There are no more safety issues with a horse on the field than with Matt Elam on the field. It might be safer, actually, as long as you can guarantee Matt Elam is not on the field with the horse. Because Matt Elam has dreamed of killing a horse with blunt force his whole life, and you don't want to be there when it happens.

    4. A lower number of holding penalties.

    5. Horses can qualify academically in the NCAA. Provided they get a learning disabled qualification, a horse should be able to stay eligible at several SEC schools. Auburn and Ole Miss come to mind first, but let's not single out those schools alone, but yes, mainly Auburn and Ole Miss. Horses may also succeed--neigh! even thrive!--at the C-USA, Sun Belt, and MAC level.

    6. Horses are not the only ones who poop on the field. For shame for suggesting that Bret Bielema has not proudly contributed towards the richness of the soil he trods for a living, sirs. For shame.

    7. The NCAA would be able to continue using athlete images without paying for them, because all horses just look like a fucking horse.

    8. Injury insurance is an irrelevance, because you may simply shoot them on the field and put in its replacement without a fuss. Nick Saban, the dream is REAL.


    10. If the horse is going to be successful, then Joker Phillips is the man to do it. He won a game as a head coach of a Kentucky football game, is a grown man named "Joker," and played bass as an African-American man in a country music video. He has already done the impossible thrice over. Betting on a fourth miracle is just common sense.

    11. Because Sanford Stadium is basically just a few strategically placed white two-by-fours from being steeplechase anyway:

    Georgia player gets stuck in Hedges after TD (via GameDayESPN)

    In short, your speciesism disgusts us, Black Heart Gold Pants. Do better. Be better. The hand you see rising to strike you isn't a hand at all: it's a hoof, extended across the aisle from one mammal to another. You should be careful, though. It may also be a horse trying to kill you. Horses deserve a shot on the gridiron, but no one said they wouldn't stop being skittish, huge, terrified dogs with hockey pucks for feet. Don't be dumb. They're still stupid fucking horses.

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  • 05/02/13--07:34: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 5/2/2013
  • Aggieshock_jpg

    THEY'RE BUILDING A CITY TO SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE. Eventually, the Aggies' proposed expansion of Kyle Field--a tribute in stone, glass, and metal to the "power, prominence, and endurance" of Texas A&M football--will float away, destroy the Boxer Rebellion, and secede altogether from the United States. Until then, you can view the beta for the proposal to make Kyle Field the largest stadium in the state of Texas, and ultimately the last and best hope for civilization when Borderlands ceases to be a game, and becomes more of a training manual.

    WELP [CLEARS THROAT] IT'S FRIDAY LET THE OBC BUST OUT THE CHECKBOOK. We doubt there are very many coaches who would ever write the check to players themselves besides, say, Barry Switzer in his prime, Jimmy Johnson for bounties, and Steve Spurrier because he's Steve Spurrier, and sort of borderline obsessive about fairness. Now please imagine a very pissed off Steve Spurrier handing out juice boxes, animal crackers, and paychecks on Fridays, and this comic scenario is complete.

    BUT SURE LET'S NOT PAY PLAYERS WHO CAN GET PAID. Patrick Hruby could have just written it all down factually, but it's way more fun to put some lemon on the paper cut while you're at it when vivisecting the notion of amateurism.

    PEYTON MANNING IS A MUTANT. Just him calling the Tennessee video staff with no warning this past season and asking them to send him a specific play from the third quarter of the 1996 Ole Miss game. Peyton Manning is not of this world. (And that's good for a few reasons for him, mostly because is still winless against Florida.)

    GO NOLES. Not a typo if we're talking about LeRoy Butler.

    PLEASE STOP ATTEMPTING TO COMMUNICATE IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Just have the decency to steal in silence, NCAA, like good thieves are supposed to do.

    ETC: NO.

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    1. The SEC broke out the sexy bedroom lights for this: a full rack of them, all lined up against the curtain behind a forest of directors chairs on a tiered stage at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. It felt less Birmingham formal and more Anaheim glossy in the room.

    2. The announcement of Project X -- aka the SEC Network, produced in partnership with ESPN -- was a media event. A collection of journalists, ESPN execs, and all 14 SEC football coaches do not get together in a ballroom for surprises. ESPN president John Skipper and SEC commissioner Mike Slive summon audiences only to tell a bit of what you already know and to unveil what has been negotiated in advance. ESPN alone brought a platoon of message-ironing PR people. The schools had their own. At the end of the day, there may have been enough to play a nice zone against reporters, if not a full man-to-man defense.

    3. So it was an information-poor exercise by design, but not entirely devoid of actual news. Yes, the SEC and ESPN are married, or at least betrothed until the year 2034, a date so far in the future it might as well be 2134 for the purposes of those in the room. Slive will be 93 by the time renewal is a consideration; Skipper will be 77. These are generational choices, not short-term ones; if a divorce in the first term of President LeBron James happens between the SEC and ESPN, football babies born during the press conference itself will still watch their teams' games somewhere on ESPN when they're of legal voting age.

    4. Their prenup is none of your business. Slive slammed the door on any discussion of financials, and so did Skipper when pressed in one-on-one conversations. This much is known: there will be money. It will be given to the SEC by ESPN in exchange for sports products: games, replays, and some form of original content. How much of that money there is in the ecosystem is unknown, and will remain so until the inevitable leak. For now, I can't prove or disprove your claim that the SEC Network is going to make a million dollars every three seconds for ESPN and the conference, but it will be a tremendous and possibly embarrassing amount of money.

    5. Embarrassing is a key word here. While Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban talked in the back row, the question was asked: doesn't this much money force the conversation about paying players for the value they, as the players in the games that draw the eyeballs who are attached to the wallets of SEC consumers, generate for schools? "Full cost of attendance" is one level of commitment everyone seems fine with, including Slive, who said as much in his welcome speech.

    6. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier threw around actual numbers: "3,500, 4,500 bucks a year could really help the players. Our players don't have hardly anything, and they bring in so much money for us coaches, our university, and all our other sports."

    LSU's Les Miles demurred to authority; Tennessee's Butch Jones supported cost of attendance, and said the rest was up to the schools involved. The "cost of attendance," whatever that may end up being defined as, implies more money. More money means paying players more, even if it continues to happen under the guise of amateurism.

    7. How/if this happens is unclear. It may not happen at all: people who get tremendous amounts of money rarely enjoy sharing it, even at margins they can tolerate. The people who showed up in the Hyatt Ballroom don't really make the second half of that decision anyway. The school presidents and the institutions themselves do.

    The first step is done, though. ESPN being ESPN, they have agreed to rain even more cash onto the SEC. The major powers in college football may have finally hit a point at which the amount of money coming in makes their league indistinguishable from a major sport, and where Alabama can no longer plausibly claim to live by the same set of rules as Alabama A&M. Not doing so would require a redefinition of shamelessness.

    8. In the South, this is never totally out of the question.

    More from SB Nation:

    Everything you should know about the SEC Network

    Watch Texas A&M stadium expansion video

    The state of the spread: SB Nation with Ole Miss and Mississippi State

    SB Nation’s College and Magnolia interviews Bo Jackson

    National recruiting coverage

    Today’s college football news headlines

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    WOOOOO WAIT THAT SEEMS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE AND PAINFUL. West Virginia, we will never understand your strange customs, but we certainly endorse them whatever they are.

    (This is actually a tradition, but shhhhhh. For you it's just mountain insanity, and that's fine with us.)

    JUST WRITE US A CHECK AND IF YOU NEED US WE'LL BE ON THE GOLF COURSE. One word for letting ESPN own the whole thing is lazy, another is cautious, and a third is "you make this shit, write us a check, and we'll be on the back nine if you need us." Whatever it is, ESPN allegedly owns the entire SEC Network until 2034, and that could mean a lot of money in the strictly theoretical sense since no one's divulging any financials on the deal, and won't until someone gets a few carefully leaked documents in their inbox. [hint hint] It also means another thing: moments for Dan Mullen to awkwardly enter the frame as a late participant in group photos.

    THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO A STORY. Jeremy Hill's attorney says the video of him punching a man doesn't tell the whole story. The punch is like Rashomon: there's like seven different angles to the story, your honor, and [throws plea deal on judge's desk and begs for mercy]

    MORE VAGUE OFFSEASON POSITIVITY. Muschamp sounds optimistic about Jeff Driskel, and with vivid instructions like this how could he not be?

    NO. Just, no, no, no, and no.

    ETC: Goodbye, $25. Live like this is happening every second of every day. Nicholas Cage is very good at his job. The champion never stops trying even in the face of adversity.

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    This conversation really started as most important ones do: with Dick Vitale.

    Some very confused Filipino girl checking her mentions this week noticed the new followers and creepy DMs, and then probably thought what you're thinking: that some terrifying American needed a lesson taught to them. Atop the roof of Dick Vitale's Florida home, clad in black silk and smiling, she rehearsed the killing moves of escrima, and plotted how she would take him out when he went for his evening walk, probably while he was checking twitter on his IPad, which was really a cardboard iPad cutout his grandchildren gave him from an iPad case. Magellan underestimated Filipino revenge, too, she thought, tapping her whomping club in the palm of her hand.

    The second thought we had was this: that Martha Stewart would utterly wreck Dick Vitale in a fight. We were not alone.


    This would not happen by a narrow margin: Martha Stewart, if you'll remember, has been to jail. Like, JAIL JAIL, Tina Fey. She also spent her pre-jail life pulling up rose bushes by hand, ripping the legs off furniture to repurpose them as other, weirder furniture, and probably taking turkeys out of the oven by hand while cursing underpaid and undocumented domestic staff for their cowardice in using "those pansy-ass kitchen mittens."

    Martha Stewart told the Feds to go fuck themselves. Dick Vitale is no greater threat to her than an assistant manager at HomeGoods, and oh how sweet you're still looking for that assistant manager as if Martha Stewart didn't soundproof her underground prison.

    Yet: is Martha the toughest lady in Foodcraft Fight Club? We have decided yes, but not before considering the competition.

    1. Martha Stewart. In the Anderson Silva phase of her career: gifted, bored, and likely due for a historic beating and epochal defeat before her retirement. The champ stays champin' until then, though.

    2. Anne Burrell. The Pam Poovey of this game. Earned her spot on Food Network by successfully beating Bobby Flay in a no-holds-barred kitchen match. Flay went for the fryer basket full of oil; Burrell countered with a dodge behind the walk-in door and a thrown creme brulee torch. Bobby Flay has been dead for years, and is only alive in reruns. Please do not tell anyone.

    3. Sandra Lee. Grew up poor, so you know she's stolen food. Can't cook, so thus has had to fight for everything else in her life. Her height provides a good reach advantage, but heavy drinking cuts both ways as her reflexes have slowed, but she feels less overall in terms of pain, sensation, or anything at all, really. "The Wisconsin Wraith"'s best fighting days are behind her, but don't underestimate her in a corner. She has eaten human meat. She will do it again if she has to.

    4. Rachel Ray. Undeniable motor, superb conditioning, and has never lost a fight by submission or knockout. Little power and endless endurance makes her the Nick Diaz of her sport, right down to the part where she hits you with a Flying Squirrel attack and calls you a bitch simultaneously. Has the short, flailing arms of a Tyrannosaurus. Has lost every fight by a judge's decision.

    5. Paula Deen. Her conditioning is crap, but she hasn't had feeling in her extremities for years, so you would think chin/pain tolerance stays off the charts for the Southeast regional title holder. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

    A fan favorite who has gone down a few weight classes to find her competitive level. Butter.

    6. Nadia G. If Martha Stewart is Anderson Silva, then Nadia G. is the Chael Sonnen of the division.

    7. Nigella Lawson. Great at the pre-fight presser, but deplorable cardio and zero counterpunch.

    8. Ina Garten. Like Kimbo Slice, utterly lost when taken out of her element. Jeffrey can't help you in the ground game, Ina, no matter how many of his Yale Management School buddies are clapping from the edge of the Octagon. The flan, however, was DELICIOUS, and we did love it oh so very much. Is still the deadliest woman with a rolling pin we or anyone else has ever seen, though, so don't ever tangle with her in a street fight, especially in the Hamptons. P.S. Decent leg kicks, like those of an angry mini-pony.

    9. Trisha Yearwood. Unproven in professional competition, but if you're a country singer of either gender then you're likely to be able to take a punch. Is married to Garth Brooks, who we presume has to be conditioned with violence like a dumb beast of the farm. Promising.

    10. Debbie Mazar. Also new and relatively unproven, but hanging out with Madonna for decades will make a person more savage than the mind can really appreciate.

    1,109. Giada de Laurentiis. Shouldn't even be near a kickboxing class, bruh.

    NOTE: all of the above fight until there is one winner. That winner then faces the immortal spirit of an jacked four-armed Julia Child, also known as the Shang Tsung of this play. We call her BOUEF GOROGUIGNON, and she is the mightiest creature in the 48 dimensions of known reality.

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    The time has come for the EDSBS Charity Bowl 2013. This is our annual version of the NPR pledge drive, except all the money goes to our favorite charity, Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, and we don't have any totebags for you.

    WHAT IS RRISA? They are a resettlement agency that helps recently arrived refugees get their lives started in the Atlanta area. This includes helping them find work, getting their kids adjusted to American schools, and a slew of other things you probably don't even realize are involved in being a new American. You can read about their full mission here. You can also look at their full Guidestar rating here. They do good work, but don't take our word for it, and read for yourself before donating.

    Their Facebook for the campaign is here, and their Twitter feed for the occasion is here. They're using the tag #RRISAEDSBS for the week, so that's a thing you might want to do.

    WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? The joy of taunting your rival charitably, first of all, since we encourage you to donate in the form of a score. For example, you might just chose the delightful total of $37.26 to donate to celebrate Florida mashing out the Seminoles with Big Dumb Will Muschamp Football this past November, or even $70.63 to exalt the single greatest game of last year, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire In Morgantown between Baylor and West Virginia. Teams with zero defense are more charitable in this format by default, but don't let that limit your imagination. Just move the decimal point over, and celebrate Iowa's most Iowa victory forever with a donation of $64.00. (Viva 6-4!)

    In addition to the simple joy of giving, we will have a few celebrity voicemails for those who make the biggest donation of the day. These are mystery guests, but rest assured you will receive a pleasant message from someone AUTHENTICALLY SLIGHTLY FAMOUS on your phone in exchange for your generosity.

    HOW DO I DONATE? On RRISA's website, done up all pretty for just for this occasion. They even put a menu for school affiliation in there, and a

    STANDINGS? Updated at the end of every business day starting today.

    WHO ARE THE REIGNING CHAMPS? Michigan, the Champions of the West and the most charitable fanbase in college football. We'd hate them being so smug about it if it didn't mean they were also wonderful people with giving hearts, so cuddle up, Brady Hoke. We will send a pizza to Michigan's football offices if you win again. Wait, wait, isn't that sending coals to Newcastle, sir? Oh, not when Brady Hoke's around.

    HOW LONG DO I HAVE? The fundraiser runs through the football sabbath, Saturday the 11th.

    WHAT IS THE GOAL? $20,000 is the goal for 2013.

    WHAT WILL YOU DO IF WE ACTUALLY RAISE $20,000 FOR CHARITY? Besides chuckling that the EDSBS commentariat is by itself a major donor to a charitable organization? That's up to you. We're taking suggestions, but ideas in the past have included making us get a tattoo, and also eating cheese on camera. Please, please: if we're going to eat cheese on camera, at least give the money to a good cause before we vomit for posterity. The comment section is open for suggestions.

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    Before you go sharing that same three minute highlight reel of him falling off boats and breaking fishing reels in ceiling fans, you need to know a few things about Bill Dance, Internet.

    1. Bill Dance is above all else a hellacious fisherman. I knew a guy who worked in Memphis when Dance was just getting started in the mid-sixties, before he had even started his first fishing show on local TV in 1968. This man was a fishing lunatic, the kind of man who would get up at five a.m. to fish at six a.m. and then get to work by eight a.m. He prided himself on insane dedication, and even he couldn't beat Dance out to the lake. Bill Dance was out there in the dark at four in the morning because an eight-pound bass killed Bill Dance's best friend in childhood, and he's sought revenge ever since.

    2. Bill Dance is a one-man empire. Have you ever seen the man pitch a new Colorado Blade or Alabama Rig? In three minutes, Bill Dance will have you ready to buy whatever hooked nightmare he has dangling on the end of his line even if you never fish, and in fact, live on the 47th floor of a Manhattan apartment building. You can dangle that shit off the balcony and catch stray commuters, only to catch and release them like a responsible outdoorsman because oh my god did you see how effortlessly Bill Dance made that ten-pounder look coming in on the hook.

    Bill Dance has successfully sold the fishing world a relentless string of shiny overpriced crap for decades not because any of it made anyone a better fisherman, but because Bill Dance is so good at getting fisherman to do what they wanted to do anyway, i.e. "spend more grocery money on crap to lose in trees." You might not think spending $22.99 on a fishing lure was a good idea to begin with, but Bill Dance said it was not only okay, but was essential, honey.

    You would later hook this expensive piece of gear on an underwater stump. That was okay, because during the week while you were working Bill Dance miraculously found an even better glorified Christmas ornament guaranteed to turn you into the Genghis Khan of the local runoff pond. This has happened every week for 45 years. Bill Dance is a goddamn sorcerer of American commerce and you are not.

    3. Bill Dance is a cultural icon.

    That's Jerry Reed and Porter Wagoner just happy to be let in the boat with the man in the Tennessee hat, much less spoken to by the Bass Whisperer himself. In case that means nothing to you, we'll explain. Jerry Reed was our 23rd President and the co-star in Smokey and the Bandit, and Porter Wagoner was a country singer who Dolly Parton allegedly said "had a penis like a fiddle." Both obviously great Americans, and both giggling like schoolgirls at the mere possibility of cleaning fish for Bill Dance.

    P.S. Jerry Reed saying the word "here" as "heeyanhhh" is one of our greatest cultural treasures.

    4. Stop acting like Bill Dance is here to amuse you, internet. And if you are going to assume that, at least use the high-quality clip collection, and not the half-assed short version without the hilariously awful sound effects added by the Bill Dance production crew. Slide whistles? Oh, you bet your ass there are slide whistles involved.

    It's not a Bill Dance blooper collection if it doesn't feature "Bill Dance Hooks Himself In The Face With A Lure" and "Bill Dance Empties An Entire Jar Of Mustard On His Pants."

    5. Bill Dance is kind of a big deal. We mean this seriously. Just watch his show, which has been the same for the better part of 30 years. Dance catches fish. Some pleasant guitar music plays in the background. He explains some obscure jigging method just guaranteed to reel in bass, and then goes way overboard with the excitement in catching several fish. Then Dance pitches the living daylights out of two or three products and shows a clip of him falling out of a boat.

    That's it, and that's all the show's ever been. That is all it has ever needed to be, really, since it's all kind of hypnotic. Dance works shoeless on a boat all day in a Tennessee hat, and is so famous among fishermen that he has trouble shooting the show due to anglers wanting autographs and face time with the fishlord himself. All that from a man who came from three generations of doctors, and decided after viewing a gory motorcycle accident that he'd rather spend his life fishing.

    6. Someday we will fulfill the dream of getting him on GameDay as the celebrity picker. It may take kidnapping noted fan of every team Kenny Chesney, who winds up on the GameDay set annually like a behatted wee gremlin that survives on the rays of television cameras, but if that's what it takes then that's what we'll do. In fact, there's this piece of tackle just made for small bait like Chesney. It's probably something Bill Dance will pitch in between casts on this Saturday's edition of Bill Dance Outdoors. Yes, it costs $24.99, but Bill Dance says it's unlike anything he's ever seen. He said this last Saturday, too, and the Saturday before that, but honey: BILL DANCE SAYS IT'S ESSENTIAL. And Bill Dance, reeling in another wiggling green-gold trophy fish on another Saturday, is never wrong, even when he's hitting his knee on a trailer hitch for your entertainment.

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    The Big Board is brought to you by Brian, whose patience almost as far to the horizon as his prodigious member. We were behind in updating the Cup, not him.


    After much delay, the Fulmer Cup is at last updated. Please note that we did our best to tally every possible arrest, but probably forgot a few along the way because keeping tabs on 120+ college football teams and their arrests is a large and unwieldy process. Additionally, please remember that people no longer on the team do not qualify--i.e. Tharold Simon of LSU, who was arrested after declaring for the draft on Tharold Simon Day in his hometown.

    Schools and points follow:

    PITT. Who hasn't had a roommate selling heroin labled "Ralph Lauren?" It really turned out a lot better than "Pitt players arrested in heroin bust" had any right to turn out, but paraphernalia charges do get you a point a piece. Pitt gets off just as badly or worse in the domestic violence arrest of Tra'von Chapman, who has been suspended from the team following an incident that involved pulling the hair of his girlfriend in a fight.

    That felony arrest, the bonus point for slappin' ladies, and the three misdemeanor arrests bring the total for Pitt to seven points in the 2013 Fulmer Cup.

    LSU. Jeremy Hill hasn't been charged formally yet for simple battery, but that should be two points pending a.) a single point for misdemeanor battery, and b.) a bonus point for high-fiving a friend after knocking the man out, something he did on camera.

    TEXAS. Cayleb Jones beat the daylights out of a tennis player, thus proving his true love to a woman who totally took him back instantly and had babies with him! That did not happen, but four points for felony assault and a bonus for WINNING LOVE STRATEGIES IN ACTION did, along with two points for DUI for Longhorn Kendall Sanders. Thus does Texas climb to seven points in the Fulmer Cup, and thus equal what Mack Brown defines as "a healthy day on offense, boys."

    VIRGINIA TECH. "Malicious wounding"isn't something you see all that often in court documents, but Blacksburg is a magical place where you see a lot of things you don't normally see like "Tight ends playing quarterback" and "Frank Beamer dancing a jig all by his jolly lonesome." A felony charge and two misdemeanors for RB Michael Holmes plus a bonus for "seriously, malicious wounding" gets the Hokies six points in the 2013 Fulmer Cup.

    WESTERN KENTUCKY. Never tamper with the evidence. Why? Because tampering with the evidence in what would have been a minor traffic stop gets you a damn felony charge, that's why. This explains why WKU football and basketball player Kene Anyigbo gets five points for a felony tampering charge to go with a failure to use headlights and minor weed possession charge. (Even money on "attempted to eat marijuana or throw out window.")

    MARSHALL. Another lesson in procedural faux pas: giving your name to police as "Mike Jennings"when you are in fact Kevin Grooms, a Thundering Herd football player who was already getting ticketed for underage consumption. Two points are awarded by any name to Marshall.

    OLE MISS. Three points for Philander Moore's domestic violence case are awarded, even after Moore was kicked off the team for the incident.

    COLORADO STATE. A domestic violence incident gets two points for the Rams, who put a new spin on the genre by having a case where the girlfriend was arrested, too.

    NORTH TEXAS. Your garden variety DWI for two points.

    MIAMI. Weed possession in Miami shouldn't even really be considered a crime, but whatever, outdated and uncool criminal code. Two points for an otherwise orderly and dull Hurricanes team.

    KANSAS. A robust three pointsfor leaving the scene of an accident and DUI. "Leaving the scene of an accident" really should be the charge for anyone leaving a Kansas football game over the past few years, but they can't arrest us all.

    Thus are the current accounts of the Fulmer Cup 2013 settled. We probably missed something, but that's what happens when you don't update since February. Go in peace, and don't tamper with the evidence. It's never worth it, no matter what your lawyer might say. (Also, make sure your attorney is not just a man imitating an attorney, unless your case is being prosecuted in the state of Florida, where law licenses are not required for basic legal work.)

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  • 05/07/13--05:48: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 5/7/2013
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    BECAUSE THERE IS A LOT OF COPPER BENEATH THE SOIL OF ARIZONA. The copper helmets are neat, Arizona, and follow a pattern we'd like to see more: college football teams saluting local industry. USF's uniforms are white because of Florida phosphate mining, and that is something we made up that works anyway and no, it is not because of cocaine. (That's the white in MIami's uniforms.)

    ONLY 124 MORE TO GO, PAUL. Georgia State is the first step in Paul Myerberg's long march to starting day, something known as "let obsessive/compulsives like Paul do the work for you while you stand in gape-jawed awe of someone who actually sifted through GSU's depth chart."

    SORRY, MOM. Matthew Thomas, a top ten recruit and five star linebacker recruit to Florida State, wants out of Tallahassee after signing with the Seminoles because, in his own words, mom thought "it was a good school." You should really listen to your mother carefully, and we mean that as in "carefully, because Mom has opinions about a lot of things, but not necessarily knowledge of those things."

    NO SCHNELLENBERGER, NO JUSTICE. The College Football Hall of Fame--whatever that is--is inducting the greatest college football player we ever saw with our own eyes, Tommie Frazier. That's nice, but without the Derby Don as a member there is no meaning or justice, man.

    IMPRESSIVE WORK, PITT. Leave out the Tony Dorsett years, and this may be the peak of Pitt's college football existence.

    THAT IS EXCITING. A bit long, but it works for us just fine.

    ETC: All 911 calls should start with "ey, bruh."

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  • 05/07/13--07:53: HOLLY ANDERSON IS MAJOR
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    Sources close to Holly Anderson tell us Holly is preparing to leave and become a staff writer at Those sources are ourselves and the holographic shark that follows Holly around at all times. Congratulations to Holly.


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    New evidence that there is no such thing as recruiting too early. Too bad, though: that fetus is already committed to Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze is just that fast, y'all. (Via)

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    The EDSBS Charity Bowl is in day two, and with some surprises:

    • Michigan is in the lead! Not surprising, actually. Sorry, words are hard sometimes.
    • Michigan State made a surprising run yesterday, though. Thank you Sparty: you're more than just those glistening abs to us.
    • The overall total as of this a.m.: a very surprising $7,099 dollars and climbing towards our goal of $20,000 already.
    • We'll have a full breakdown by school tomorrow, BUT DON'T WAIT YOUR SCHOOL IS BEHIND.

    That is superb, and here's the part where we play Mayer Hawthorne because we can.

    And here's the part where we ask you to give if you haven't already, and invite you to follow along on Twitter with the whole shebang as it unfolds. ONE MYSTERY CELEBRITY VOICEMAIL HAS ALREADY BEEN GIVEN OUT. Make the largest donation over the next 24 hours, and this lucky person could be you.

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    A quick update on the 2013 EDSBS Charity Bowl before we get on a plane home: sitting here on Wednesday afternoon, we're already well ahead of pace last year. This is great, but as someone who lived through the Ron Zook years at Florida, we know just how easily one can blow a halftime lead. So before we go overstandings:

    DONATE HERE AND MAKE MICHIGAN THINK THEY HAVE SOMETHING LIKE COMPETITION. Also, support new beginnings for people fortunate enough to make it to the United States after fleeing some of the world's worst living situations, and lay the groundwork for healthy, happy families who will someday love college football just as much or more than you do.

    The charity bowl continues until Saturday, but as it stands there's the Big Ten, and especially Michigan, and then everyone else sucking wind twenty furlongs back. Seriously, SEC. SERIOUSLY.


    Total Givers


    University of Michigan



    University of Georgia



    University of Alabama



    Notre Dame



    Arizona State University



    Michigan State University



    Make Spencer Eat Cheese University



    Hillsdale College



    North Carolina State University



    Georgia Institute of Technology



    Case Western Reserve



    University of Florida



    Ohio State



    Virginia Tech



    Louisiana State University - LSU



    University of Tennessee



    University of Minnesota



    University of Virginia



    Boise State



    University of South Florida



    Kenyon College



    Univeristy of Wisconsin



    University of Arksans






    Slippery Rock University



    West Virginia University



    Texas A&M



    University of South Carolina



    University of Texas



    Syracuse University



    Univeristy of Mississippi



    Miami University, Ohio



    University of Oklahoma



    Clemson University



    University of Oregon



    Washington State University









    Grove City College






    University of St. Thomas






    Duke University



    University of California, Berkeley



    Indiana University



    USMC - West Point



    Cal Poly



    Kennesaw State



    Penn State



    University of Kentucky



    Miskatonic University






    University of Louisiana Layfayette



    University of Nebraska



    Boston University



    University of Colorado - Bolder



    Florida State University



    (Awaiting teams)





    $12, 562.10

    Someone please mount a challenge to Brady Hoke and his haunting Chinese violin playing:

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  • 05/09/13--07:58: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 5/9/2013
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    THE VERY PICTURE OF SORROW. We really don't know how Bill did it, but there it is: words that are not just pure sadness written about New Mexico State football. Bill C. is a masochist of the highest order, and this is his intellectual Jackass DVD set.

    GET FUCKIN' MONEY, BRENT FUCKIN' PEASE. Florida's most profane coach is getting a $100,000 raise, so some fuckin' congratulations are indeed in goddamn order. Now to the next frontier: SCORING 28 POINTS TWO GAMES IN A ROW. #believeinyourdreams

    BURT'S KITCHEN MAKES SENSE TO US. It is indeed the depths of the offseason if you're constructing detailed hypothetical maps of Bret Bielema's kitchen. We don't know how accurate this is, but one part is totally there: the giant beer fridge.

    PAT DYE HAD DONE THIS BEFORE. Not for charity, but still: those are not the hands and posture of a man who has never surrendered to the authorities before.

    RIP. Asaph Schwapp, former ND fullback, dead of cancer at the age of 26.

    ETC: BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW FLOCKA BOW. No one could have imagined the challenges facing the recently cut punter. China treats animals well.

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