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    Please help Rick Bragg buy his lake house by purchasing his corn muffin mix.

    Lemme tell you something. Down here we believe a few things. I believe if you carry a hammer in a hailstorm, you'll grow saltwater taffy from your ears. If you eat that taffy, you'll get polio. If you get polio, you should put your hand in a nest a angry bees to cure it. If it doesn't cure it, you at least get to taste the mystery of anaphylactic shock, and thus meet the glories of the lord, if only for a minute.

    My great-aunt Louise taught me that, and I believe it no matter what the doctors said about the syphilis.

    Down here in the South, we believe in the gospel of football. After a close loss, SOUTHERN LIVING the PAULA DEEN and defeat. BUTTER the winds with a SNAPPING TURTLE, and JESUS around the SEC TITLES, CHICK-FIL-A, and the azaleas. We talk slow, and PICKLES. The hot weather would melt a danged old Big Ten Team here, much less GOD ALWAYS PUNTS.

    We also believe in BLACK EYED PEA OVERSIGNING, no matter what anyone else says about it. See, the South is all like STRUT-DE-DUT-OOH-DE-LALLY BANJO, while other parts of the country are all like COLD AND BUTTFACE. You can say all you like, but JARS FULL OF FIREFLIES and LESTER MADDOX, there ain't nothing you can do to change MAMA SAID and KISS MY ASS THIS TRAILER IS MY DOMICILE. That's just the YOU'RE GONNA NEED A WARRANT of it, and that's that.


    My uncle once worked at a turtle factory, where they make turtles and sometimes shotguns and pies. South Carolina had just beaten Georgia, and the plant manager was a big ol' South Carolina fan. He was just standing there, a-hootin' and a-hollerin' about, "woooo Go Cocks" when my uncle just up and popped him in the temple with a .38. THAT'S DEDICATION. Second degree manslaughter got the word "laughter" in it, and that's something I learned by watching Gallagher.

    See, that's just the kind of BOOT-SCOOTIN' SCABIES we got down here with football. DOGWOODS and TRUCK NUTZ would have to agree that DAD'S A BASTARD, there's no reasoning with what's believed with a CATFISH and a dream. Why, even without the BCS at play, the SEC's got TYPE II DIABETES and enough to share with our frigid cousins from UNEMPLOYMENT.

    This may sound like I'm just trynta blow smoke up your AUTO INSURANCE RING, but it ain't. It's just an honest accountin' of the FAULKNER FETISH EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE NEVER READ HIM AND DON'T REALIZE JUST HOW MUCH HE NEEDED A GODDAMN EDITOR. It's a DESIGNING WOMEN of a thing, the kind of SWEET TEA IS SHIT FOR FAT PEOPLE and KISS ME WITH DIP IN MAH MOUTH. Oral cancer isn't a joke, but a donkey with one is.

    And I'm not just trying to tell you just what you want to hear, GARDEN AND GUN. I'm trynta BEAR BRYANT MONKEY PAW RELIC you into understanding--er, unnerstandin' something about the South. I'm HEE-HAW PORNO SCENE'in' the shit outta this here piece because PEOPLE LIKE TO READ PRECISELY WHAT THEY THINK IN THE FIRST PLACE AND CRAVE REINFORCEMENT AGAINST ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

    That leaves the three things that matter: FRIED PICKLE HOOKWORM, Mama, and JOE PATERNO CHILD MOLESTER SCANDAL.



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    Dana Holgorsen got a six year contract extension today from his employers at West Virginia University. The deal is standard in terms of money: $2.3 million a year plus bonuses, along with the clauses about "moral turpitude" allowing the university fo fire him for "habitual drunkenness" or other things we tend to like people for doing. He's now paid roughly the same amount of money as Charlie Strong at Louisville, and more than Rich Rodriguez ever earned there for coaching football. (Rodriguez made around $2 million a year in his tenure.

    You're damn right there are perks.



    b. $50,000 raise for Coach Cool Dog I Found At The Bus Station

    c. Use of a helicopter, this time without the breathalyzer

    d. (illegible scribbling) laser (more illegible scribbling) condoms

    e. By law, can force dealers in WV casinos to hit on 19.

    f. $30,000 promotion bonus from Commando, the official undergarment status of West Virginia Athletics

    g. Get to stay up as late as he wants and not brush his teeth

    h. Dyson vacuum cleaners everywhere. Don't ask why.

    i. Discretionary use of the Mountaineer's musket.

    j. If it happens on the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit System, it STAYS on the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit System.


    l. Gets to use the can at Oliver Luck's house whenever he wants, no questions asked.

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  • 08/09/12--06:16: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 8/9/2012
  • IIIIIIICE CREAAAAAAAAAAAAAM. There is little funnier than burly men in pads running like diabetic children to the pealing bells of an ice cream truck.

    Guy Morriss, driving the truck for money and not love, is all out of Fat Frogs and Starbursts, and that's just tough shit for y'all. Nah, I'm not Guy Morriss. Y'all must be thinking of someone else. STOP LOOKING AT ME.

    PURGATORY IS LIKE 6-6 OR SO. We have a feature on the preseason rankings hell and its various circles. In writing this, we remembered several things.

    • Mike Dubose won an SEC title at Alabama, a real boost to Steve Spurrier's argument that a gorilla in a tie could probably win one conference title there. (Keeping it going before you're killed by the locals is the trick.)
    • Florida, Florida State, and Texas could have been mentioned way, way more than they were, but you already knew that.
    • You think people will get measured about Notre Dame one day, and then you remember that as recently as 2006 we all had them at one or two. We also thought "Yeah, this Wale guy is gonna be the next Nas!" People in the past are stupid, don't listen to them about anything.

    It's also the most Italian thing in the world to put treachery in hell's basement instead of things like "mass murder," but whatever, Dante. You were a middle-aged guy madly in love with a teenager. You clearly had issues. *

    *With this qualification, he would have certainly made a great recruitnik.

    READ THAT LAST PARAGRAPH CAREFULLY. Wright Thompson got the full-access treatment to Urban Meyer, something he's never really granted anyone in a coaching situation, and pretty much nails the weirdass, ciphery personality of Meyer in his longform profile of him. One key point about Meyer is that he was never really likable as a head coach, so it's nice to see that Meyer doesn't even really seem to like himself a whole lot, and really never has.If that's a puff piece we disagree with your definition, but the last paragraph in particular is really, really interesting.

    GUMPCYCLE AHOY! The unthinkable becomes the real through the unguided hands of madmen. They made this. Blame them.

    THIS CERTAINLY WON'T BE A PROBLEM AGAINST A NICK SABAN DEFENSE. Michigan will need to do some juggling in the backfield against Alabama, and that's certainly not an issue at all noooooope.

    ABOUT THAT PENN STATE SHIRT. It wasn't as bad as you imagine, and it certainly wasn't in the official Penn State bookstore. This and the Calvin peeing on the logo of a rival school are both unofficial pieces of memorabilia, and will wind up in the clutches of your dumbest fans.

    ALREADY GETTING LEACH-Y. Washington State's new punter will run a devastating run fake.

    ETC: "But honey, it wasn't me. It was the stress." Hey, high-fivin' crazy truck driver! You're on fire! The Statler Brothers' suits' in Smokey and the Bandit 2 are more patriotic than a bald eagle humping the Lincoln Memorial. [THROWS TABLE THROUGH WINDOW SCREAMING M-I-CROOKED-LETTAH] At last, a superhero for the protein crowd. Oh, that's not a nice text to send to anyone.

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    The distractions of ladies running stairs in their workout gear proved to be too much for the Missouri football team, or at least for one of their coaches who asked two scantily clad ladies running stadium stairs to move their workout. Football players were distracted by the sight of women. Every team in the SEC East is, at this moment, sending hordes of fit runners in Lululemon booty shorts to Columbia on goodwill missions, and this is why you never let the press leak any practice information ever, Gary Pinkel.

    South Carolina might send someone extra-special if you're really lucky.


    "Like the way you're pitchin' it around there, fellas. Let's see if you can keep doin' that against those fastass DBs from Hell and Gone, Alabmalouisianasippi, though. Gonna be fun! Don't mind me, just tryin' to keep a little "Ol'" off the "ol' ball coach" tag, boys. Get an eyeful! This is the 'Show Me' state, right y'all? Well, I'm complyin' with local law as best I can."

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    Image via Bubbaprog

    For once, we wish a coach coming off a scandal would admit nothing and concede even less.

    "Do you feel bad about what you did, Coach?"

    "Only in that it cost me a lot of money. A tremendous amount of money."

    "Do you feel any regret over what you did?"

    "See: assloads of money. I also lost a good bike and an attractive mistress. Her pancakes! Oh, they were peerless. I mean that literally, not metaphorically. She made some great pancakes. I also enjoyed having sex with her."

    "I'm now hungry for pancakes."

    "Not my problem no matter the meaning. I don't cook or have sex with dudes. Especially you, Joe Schad. Especially rubberfaced, ugly, sadassed you."


    Bobby Petrino's not doing this for you, though. He's doing it for the future employers of the world, the people who will hand him a new handset and take the accepted costs of employing him: the threat of him being hired away and the constant unease of having him as your head coach, and him being a dick. In return, you get excellent football.

    It's always a tradeoff. For example, employ Jim Mora, and he may say things like this.

    Mora, discussing recruiting on the Roger Lodge radio show, said he makes a point to tell parents how safe it is at UCLA, noting, "We don’t have murders a block from our campus."

    Mora's mouth has run several yard markers ahead of his brain before, so it's not like this is a new thing, but the timing is particularly bad if you take the recent murders of two Chinese graduate students near the USC campus into account. Mora swears he was not referring to USC, and he was referring to USC, but here's a dick trying to non-apologize anyway.

    "If anybody, whether USC or Cal State San Bernardino, is offended by the statement, then that’s their insecurity, not mine."

    Don't do this. Instead, just come out and say "I'm a football coach, and I am not good at talking. Additionally, I am kind of a dick and not very sensitive toward other people. I may need to carry a children's feeling chart with me every day just to relate to other human beings."

    Fellow person-challenged occasional dick-coach-human Lane Kiffin barely talks at all any more. He now probably answers questions by holding up the feelings chart and pointing towards it, and it's all worked out beautifully for him so far at USC. People are even writing redemption stories about him like he's even changed anything he does at Besides moving to the very different environment of L.A. and talking less, he really hasn't changed anything besides his win percentage. However, like most things in recent L.A. college football history, this is probably something UCLA will do ten years after USC did it. (And most likely too late.*)

    *See: hiring an ex-NFL head coach and defensive coordinator on a lark to see if they can replicate the Pete Carroll experiment, because history always repeats itself exactly in every case.

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    The SEC episode of Shutdown Fullback seeks to educate the world about the glorious history of the Champions' Conference, covering its origins as an 1861 gun-hockey team captained by Major General Earnhardt, its unfortunate early history under probation from the NCAA/ Federal Government/ Reconstruction/Whatever, and then its ascent to the top of college football, modern culture, and the NL East. SUBSCRIBE AND RECEIVE A FREE SEXY NOTHING.

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  • 08/10/12--08:39: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 8/10/2012
  • THEY HAVE IT ALL COVERED. Question their quarterback situation, their defensive depth, their ability to compete in year one of their SEC tenure, sure. Never, ever question Texas A&M's commitment to the brand, though. Never.


    They also put one up in Austin, a place that contrary to all reports from Aggies is not filled with aliens and howling red winds. (Okay: possible aliens, occasional dust.) (Image via BurritoBrosShit)

    LSU PRESS CONFERENCE, 1 P.M CST. We don't know what it's about, and neither does anyone else, apparently. The obvious guess is something regarding QB coach Steve Kragthorpe's health. Kragthorpe stepped down from the position of offensive coordinator after a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease last year, but continued as a position coach. We really hope it's not that, and that this is all some cheap endorsement ruse where Les Miles walks to the mike and tongue-kisses Flo from the official new insurance provider of LSU football, Progressive.

    BEER PONG BRAWLS ARE NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING. Christian Littlehead, troubled DT for Oklahoma State, has a warrant out for his arrest in the case of an assault on a woman during a beer pong game. Don't punch people, especially girls, and especially within the sanctified boundaries of a beer pong table.

    QUIEN ES MAS HOTSEATTINGEST? Holly has the crew over for the obligatory hot seat discussion. What's one of Randy Edsall's greatest allies in the war against football at Maryland? Debt! Crushing, coach-saving debt. There is discussion of Tennessee, and that gives us the obvious opportunity to share this.

    "IT'S FIRM." Dan Mullen, just pokin' all his running backs to see if they're done to perfection.

    YOU WOULD TAKE HIM BACK, BUT THAT'S HOW ALL ABUSED SPOUSES ARE. Bobby Petrino still has Arkansas fans in an emotional bind, one which will only get more twisty and bindy as the John L. Smith era unfolds/explodes/mutates and eats your car. But hey, at least you've got a replacement for the mistress now! And he's covered in that stuff Washington's defense had all over them in the Alamo Bowl! That stuff is PCP. You do not want to ingest it, ever.

    WELCOME DAMN EAGLE. College and Magnoila is our new Auburn blog. Somehow, they will beat us by a field goal this season.

    BECAUSE YOU NEED THIS. Someone give this round mound of pure coaching skill a job. Now.

    THIS IS ONE REBUTTAL. Mora's still apologizing for the remark, but this happened and you should know it.

    ETC: "This plane is definitely crashing." Our attorney had a client who crashed his plane in the Okefenokee on the way back from the Masters, and who hobbled out of the wreckage only to find the first house he went to for help had a very angry redneck holding a shotgun at his face. He then got to the hospital, where they informed him he had been bitten by a rattlesnake in the process, and hadn't noticed. If nature wants to fuck with you, nature will FUCK with you. Brandon Stroud writes one of the more moving things you will ever read about Street Fighter. Chicken finger mummy. Never ignore important moose news. All Stephen Greenwood does is make pretty things. Paging Gary Pinkel: Google's got you, man.

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    There is some good news for Tyrann Mathieu. HIs inclusion in Heisman watch lists and other award prospects were not concocted or imaginary, and his ceiling as a football player sits several stories above even the average SEC defender. His quickfire ballhawking instincts remain unparalleled. Instincts stay with you regardless of the jersey you wear, and for that Mathieu should take some consolation today.

    The worst loss for Tyrann Mathieu in violating team policy and exhausting his chances with the LSU coaching staff? Losing the year of development and reps he will now have to forfeit on his roundabout way to the NFL or another school. Mathieu remains a collection of walking superlatives in terms of talent, but where he needs improvement is in the technical aspects of his game, particularly in coverage.

    A year of additional reps and work with the LSU defensive coaching staff may have added some serious technical polish to his game, and thus given him a nicer signing bonus when/if he eventually makes it to the league. That is a loss, and one he should regret.

    As far as the impact to LSU's 2012 season goes, the worst part will be the gap between Mathieu's punt return contributions and what LSU will have as a replacement. Odell Beckham is a great athlete, but barring some miracles from the strength and conditioning staff, he will not be the returner Mathieu is, and neither will anyone currently on the roster. Like Greg Reid at FSU, another troubled DB recently booted from his team, he leaves his biggest dent in what he gave LSU in terms of field position.

    Jalen Collins, who redshirted last year, will likely replace Mathieu on the depth chart. He likely does not have Mathieu's golden turnover hands, but he may end up being a better cover corner than Mathieu ever was. He will not be this immediately, however, and that is also an immediate and apparent loss.

    Do remember this: LSU had to replace a first-round pick in 2011 in losing Patrick Peterson to the NFL Draft, too. That replacement was preseason Heisman candidate and recent free agent Tyrann Mathieu. Losing him now is not good, but it is anything but the end of the world for a team still embarrassingly loaded with sprint-happy talent.

    For more on Tigers football, visit LSU blog And The Valley Shook, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills.

    While we’re here, let’s watch some of the many fine college football videos from SB Nation’s YouTube channel:

    Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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    An ecstatic Les Miles greeted the press in his favorite hat.

    BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana State Tigers cemented their status as SEC West favorites and a national preseason number one Friday by dismissing a 5'9" liability in their secondary. Mathieu, most notorious for an insufferable, dead horse nickname and his utter inability to cover future NFL receivers, is expected to be replaced by a normal-sized, fully functioning cornerback.

    "The issue at hand here is a fundamental behavior. He was short, which is fundamental. He had a terrible, overplayed nickname based on an internet video your aunt liked. Your aunt liking a video means Tyrann Mathieu is not on our football team. You people need better taste in Internet videos."

    LSU will replace Tyrann Mathieu at punt returner with Odell Beckham. Odell Beckham is faster and better than Tyrann Mathieu ever was, according to people who watch LSU football. He will also never take alleged pictures of his genitals that end up on, according to Les Miles.

    "I can promise you a lot of things about this team. No one on this team will quit. And if they do send pictures of their genitals to people, it will be with Polaroids. You can always burn those. A Polaroid is not forever, but it can wind up in the wrong hands. Sorry about that, Governor Jindal. I really am, both on behalf of my family and the LSU football team. Please come back to our Christmas party this year."

    In short, Miles believed the team would be stronger for his loss.

    "Tyrann Mathieu was literally the worst player in college football. I wish him the best in his future endeavors like walking down the stairs without falling, and also not getting kicked off his next football team. Have a great day."

    The rest of the internet agreed that LSU will probably replace Mathieu's replacements with even faster swamp-mutants, and will still lose two games you cannot explain through string theory, theology, or even in simple picture-stories designed for the pre-literate toddler, because they are LSU, and this is just what LSU does, man.

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  • 08/10/12--13:10: GUESS WHO'S BACK?
  • Tyrann Mathieu is gone...

    ...but hey, LSUFreek's back!

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  • 08/10/12--07:32: COUNTDOWN: 20
  • The countdown this year: finding a friend of ours a college football team. In twenty parts. Twenty very weird parts.


    First Quarter

    15:00: You say you want to become a college football fan, Dan. I honestly don’t know how to tell you to begin other than with you. You probably think you define who you are as a fan, and even if you stumble over it in the night and nurse it along seemingly by accident. This is probably what you think. It is wrong, but it is probably what you think.

    14: 50 You think this because you may have been born somewhere randomly, been spit into the waiting arms of certain parents in certain neighborhoods, and then bounced around cities, schools, and spots on the map. At one point, somewhere in that long fall down the Plinko board of life, you fell into a slot. The letters lit up, and you were sorted into a happy pile, and after that quiet, unconscious moment, you forgot the way there and assumed you had been there forever.

    14:42 You have not been there forever, and It is not an accident at all. You love a team because they fulfill some need, or patch some hole in yourself left by shoddy construction and worse maintenance. They choose you. You later convince yourself of your own volition to choose them, rearranging facts and stories to the contrary. You had to love a team because your father loved them, or because your grandfather played for them, or because this one time you saw them play, and it just...took. It just took, and magic happened, with real sparkles and lightning and tiny helmeted fairies celebrating it.

    14:37 That did happen. For instance, we have that moment. It was October 15th, 1994. We were in the stands at Florida Field, wearing a sick joke of a wool-blend band uniform. I was eighteen years old, blank, unformed, and as stupid as a human being could be without killing themselves by setting themselves on fire. The sky is overcast.

    14:32 There are thirty-six seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter of a 33-29 game between Florida and Auburn. The game is in Gainesville, Florida in October, and it still stinks of the heat and smell of rotting vegetation that envelops Alachua County at all times. (For six to seven months of the year it smells like living inside a tropical compost heap.)

    14:03 Frank Sanders brings down the winning touchdown for Auburn. The rest of the stadiums shivers, slackens, and slumps as if it’s been collectively tased. A drummer a few rows down chucks his sticks into the bushes lining the endzone. The game ends after a futile flurry of offensive plays by Florida. Death in all directions. Silence. An overcast, clammy fear covering everything in sight.

    13:52 You have to be brutally, scarily honest with yourself if you want a team. This honesty is not a short-term honesty, since you won’t even see it at first. If you watch Alabama football, you will first claim to love great defense, and the run game, and the passion of the outnumbered, maniac horde who hold the state’s only bragging rights over their feathered hair. (Alabama fans have a particular kind of hairstyle best described as the Coriolus Effect Made Manifest, or simply "Bama Bangs." They all have the same kind of everything, for the most part.) You like winning, and you like tough, physical football. Everyone who likes Alabama football says this.

    13:30 Down the road, however, you’ll have to be more honest. You like these traits because they are manifestations of something unfed. You like Alabama football because you are from Alabama, and need something, anything to be proud of, or worse still you need it to connect you to a home you left long ago because you never ever felt comfortable there. You like it because you like winning, and are one of those shallow people who just like things that win, and don’t particularly care one way or the other if you have any actual connection to said thing. You like Alabama football for the same reason people not born in New York like the New York Yankees: because they are successful, and more than anything else, more than soul, person, place, or for the love of the thing itself, you value cardinal order. You might have a gigantic pachyderm of emotions sitting there in the corner of the room labeled "Father," and if he’s over there, then you’re over here watching Crimson Tide football for dark, obvious, and insoluble reasons.

    13:14 Parenthetically: you might just like good defense and yelling "Rammer Jammer" at people. But I am skeptical.

    13:02 You may even choose to root for a hopeless team. If you do this, if you enlist with the Baylors, the Kentuckys, the Indianas of the college football cosmos, you clearly crave sorrow, danger, or the mad rush of tears, thousands of minutes of accumulated tears, through your door. Merely reading these three names has formed a high pressure system in your living room, and a cold front in your kitchen. When they meet over your head as you read this in your chair or on your couch, the precipitation will be unending. You are a manic gambler, a masochist, a fool, or a patron of lost causes with time, love, concern, and pain tolerance to burn. You are not any saner or less sick at heart than the person who gloms onto surefire winners like Ohio State, Alabama, or USC. There is not a stray cat of a football program in the world you may not adopt. If it grows into a lion, you will be shocked, and have an entirely different set of problems.

    12:51 No matter the choice, you will end up learning unpleasant things about yourself by choosing a team. You cannot prepare yourself for this, so do not even try. One day you will realize something horrible, something utterly unbearable and honest that football throws at you.

    12:42 Frank Sanders had dropped that ball, and Auburn had lost that game, I might not be writing this. Winning is an ephemeral high, a cracked can of CO2 under the nose, a bump before a long night inevitably followed by another, and another, and so on down the sad road of addictive diminishing returns. You forget winning almost before they turn the scoreboard off; it vanishes with a blanket of a night's sleep, and dies quickly in any climate no matter how hard one might try to extend its shelf life.

    12:37 Loss is immortal, and the edge of loss, risk, is the greatest narcotic ever made. Dostoyevsky was a gambling addict, a severe one, one so dedicated to losing money he sold novels of Russian length and still came up destitute and wandering the earth avoiding the bill collector. He once lost a bet on a horse race and ejaculated from the excitement. That may seem odd to you, and it makes perfect sense to me.

    12: 28 It makes sense because when Frank Sanders brings down that ball, adrenaline dropkicked my stomach into the floor. An audible gasp ran out of my mouth, one I have only made since watching car accidents, horrifying moments from Breaking Bad, and perhaps the 2007 Florida Gators pass defense. Words failed; disbelief set in, since there had to be a few more seconds on the clock, some uninvoked rule the officials had missed, some appeal to be made to reality. That did not just happen. This is not happening.

    12: 21 The feeling is still sort of there. An addict does not forget that, because the root wiring is the same in all cases. You want to be honest about why you watch things. We watch for the possibility of loss, of death, of watching a team get as close to oblivion as possible. The risk is simulated, but the payoff is real.

    12:18 Ask any college football fan what their favorite team ever was. It is likely not the one that won every game by thirty points, but rather the team that finished every game spent, dazed, and shocked to have not only survived the game, but to have won by the most terrifying of margins. To love a team is to embrace masochism, to admit a taste for pain-by-proxy, and to willfully admit addiction. It is a twelve-step program stuck on step one forever: you are powerless, and your life will be way less manageable and tidy for it.

    12:15 Loss is the base currency for everything in the emotional economy you are willingly embracing here. The payoffs come in other denominations, but the whole system is based on its existence.

    12:14 For me, there is another uncomfortable realization: I am never home, even when I am at home. I am a Florida fan for a reason: in the absence of God or home, there was the state of Florida, and the things that eat other things in the dark of a boiling night, and the ordered version of that bloodsport, Florida football. A nation of nobody agreeing on one thing, and one thing only: violence against an other, preferably channeled through the hands and feet of our fleetest and most desperate citizens. Some part of me is violent, and craves violence for violence's sake. That part was Florida, and still is.

    12:11 Like Florida, I’m where things that can’t go anywhere else end up, less a place than an interstate and the space between them, and less a person and more a sum of things consumed and digested, barely habitable, overheated, and better off at the edges. That is why I love Florida football, and why it chose me, and not the other way around. Misfit carnivores find their orbit. Football knew mine before I ever did.

    12:00 So, you know. Choose carefully. You start by watching football. It ends up watching you.

    [TV time out]

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  • 08/11/12--10:07: COUNTDOWN: 19

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  • 08/13/12--08:10: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 8/13/2012


    Following the metaphor: if the Chizik era at Auburn turns out to be one great moment of pleasure followed by a moment of quiet shame, some mopping up afterward, and a quick toss behind the bed, well, you'll know the towel done foretold it. It can join the "Urban Meyer Yohimbe and Pornhub Bender" in the realm of SEC masturbatory metaphors with ease. (Via)

    Oh, and remember that this is the only result for "Trooper Taylor" in our Getty Images tool.

    SPEAKING OF TEAMS THAT HAVE GONE LIMP AT THE WORST TIME. Oklahoma gets the full treatment from Bill C, and the offensive line has serious issues and WHOA METOYER VIDEO. Nevermind, Oklahoma is winning all the football this year, and it's all gonna be fine. #onethousanddeepballsinarow

    LANE KIFFIN JUST GAVE UP HIS COACHES' POLL VOTE. We hope he gave it to a homeless man, aka someone who watches more individual college football games through the year than a football coach charged with devoting all their thought and effort to 12 different teams only. This homeless man may or may not be Beano Cook. We're totally fine with it either way. Hey, look, USC is just as safe as UCLA! It's a pretty awesome day for Lane Kiffin.

    AND YOU GET A SCHOLARSHIP, AND YOU-- Steve Spurrier joined the preseason James Franklin scholarship giveaway by borrowing a page from Urban Meyer's playbook and having a kicker boot his way into a scholarship. Spurrier also waxed old bro-ishly about his tenure in the SEC, because he is old and is only mildly uncomfortable with it now.

    RETIRING FOR [REASONS REDACTED BY MASSIVE LAWSUITS.] Just pursuing other interests, as Roger Goodell might say.

    DO IT. San Diego State could just live dangerously this year, and if they do? You'll have our steel, Aztecs, as well as basic math in a lot of cases.

    STOP WRITING. We all fall facefirst into bad sentences (see masturbation metaphors above) but damn, light up your brains with some smarts, man.

    IMPORTANT MUSTACHE NEWS. Michigan has an early prospect worth monitoring. (Slide 15 please. The one who looks like a French balloonist.) Michigan under Brady Hoke also continues to lead the Big Ten in quirk by having a real live noodler on the roster. In other impressive non-Michigan player profile pictures, this also deserves mention for sheer congeniality.

    ETC: Rwandan cycling isn't where you think you'd get all emotional, but here we are. Nudists need younger people, so DRUM CIRCLES. Jesus doesn't really want you talking about all that, ma'am.

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    THE BIG EAST HIRES A REAL COMMISSIONER. The Executive Vice President of Programming for CBS Sports, Mike Aresco, will reportedly be the new commissioner of the Big East. Aresco was instrumental in negotiating the SEC's deal with CBS Sports, a long-term contract considered innovative and interesting until everyone else made their own even more innovative and interesting television deals. (Interesting = "lucrative.")

    We would not torture Big East fans by suggesting they will get as big a deal as the SEC, but YOU'RE GETTING THE SAME DEAL MAN! SPEND IT NOW BEFORE YOU GET IT IT'S THE AMERICAN THING TO DO. Seriously, though, they might outdo the ACC's deal, and wouldn't that be fun for John Swofford.

    We asked Paul Pasqualoni for his reaction to the hire.


    Thank you, Paul. Insightful as always.

    SETTLE THE HELL DOWN. Auburn's own Reuben Foster did not meet with the NCAA, but instead with the Alabama High School Association regarding his transfer into Auburn High School. Please stand down, because the Auburn compliance office remains the Seal Team Six of compliance offices. Now, Memphis? There's some shit there, and you and the NCAA know it.


    They were maybe the fastest team that we played against, but I did not think they were tough, and I think there were some issues between some players and coaches on the offensive side of the ball.

    Brent Pease, please don't suck. Please oh please do not suck.

    TODAY IN INFOGRAPHICS. The new boys in the SEC get the graphical treatment, and that's neat, but please, if you mess around with one thing today, let it be Slate's map of auto-entries for U.S. states. "Why is Arkansas SO POOR?" That's all Arkansas gets. Sorry, hot piss toters, but at least you don't belong in the "fat, boring, racist" belt of MIssissippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

    RAY-RAY OPTS NOT TO SUE. Ray-Ray has decided not to sue over being declared ineligible, and will play at an NAIA school for 2012. Lawyers remain expensive.

    THE HELIUM SHORTAGE STRIKES HOME. Nebraska should just ball out and use hydrogen. It worked just fine for German balloonists and blimp captains for years, and what works for Imperial Germany should totally work for Nebraska.

    A MINOR NOTE, REALLY. Penn State's accreditation may theoretically be in trouble, but the university will likely be fine after it formally answers some questions and promises to take steps, blah blah blah. This has happened before with large football-forward universities, and it rarely results in much happening. (Except for the exile of Bobby Lowder, mind you.)

    THE COMPLETE FALL PLUMAGE. We are now making it our life's mission to get an authentic Virginia Tech turkey-foot print helmet.

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    Another Olympic tradition unfolds even after the games themselves have ended: the "disappearance" of athletes from less-than-desirable global zip codes into the streets of the Games' host country.

    This time the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon are the parties reporting missing athletes, with Cameroon missing five boxers, and the DRC missing an athlete and three coaches. Finding nine people in London should be simple as long as you get Jason Statham to beat information out of men in hats with Cockney accents. (This already sounds like a Guy Ritchie movie, so why not just make the logical conclusion as to how this ends.)

    The DRC's missing delegation includes judoka Cedric Mandembo, who lost his only match in 79 seconds, presumably because he wanted to get it over with to then melt away into the crowds of London to be somewhere, anywhere, that is not the impoverished, war-torn sorrowscape that is the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you see a large man that looks like this in London, leave him be. He is a huge man who knows judo from a very tough place, and you are reading a blog.

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    A darkened film room. RON ZOOK and HOUSTON NUTT examine film.


    HN: See, that's what I like in a quarterback. Legs on the ground. Arm all over his head. Head on his neck. Parts: he's got 'em all!

    RZ: Eyes downfield. Likin how he has the ball in his hand, and then it leaves through the air.

    HN: Funny thing, Ron. Dang if Matt Jones didn't look directly at the sun before every snap.

    RZ: Is that right?

    HN: That's the way David Lee and I taught him: just throw that boy right into the sun, and hope it rains somewhere downfield. Pot o' gold, leprechauns, etcetera.

    RZ: Like a rugby punt with the arm!

    HN: Onside kick with the hand.

    RZ: Inbounds pass with the sternum.

    HN: The infield fly rule with your penis.

    RZ: EXACTLY. Like, "I'm pantsless, and you're out." You like my quarterbacks with their eyes in the sun and runnin' with their pants down just like I do, Houston.

    HN: So glad we understand each other, Coach. Next clip, Ronathan.


    RZ: See, he's there with the math and the sickness.

    HN: Just a tortured genius. Like Da Vinci, or Ryan Seacrest.

    RZ: Math: not even once. I've seen the billboards.

    HN: Math can't measure heart, amiright?

    RZ: Nope. Can't put a man on the moon. Can't score a touchdown. If you're not putting things on the moon, you gotta be doing something with heart.

    HN: The best thing a man can do in life. Puttin' things on the moon with his heart.

    RZ Heart's like a rocket ship anyway, but sometimes? Sometimes it is a rocket ship.

    HN: That's what heart attacks are. When it blows up on the pad, that is.

    RZ: BOOM! Hey! Look out, rocket ship heart attack. Houston, we got a problem.



    HN: Ah, when a little flower like that opens her petals like that, you just thank god you were born a bee.

    RZ: Gotta check that ID, eh?

    HN: Not in Arkansas, Ron.

    RZ: Not a sad movie. Man quits a bad job. Gets a real job workin' with his hands. Muscle car. Benchin' in the garage. Lester's got this life thing figured out.

    HN: That's right.

    RZ: Wearin' a tank top. Feelin' his oats again.

    HN: Kissin' a man in the garage. That's between you and the man, but some garage-kissin' in life ain't a bad thing. I like imagining he's kissin' the Terminator. Listen, I don't believe in it, but if you gotta kiss a gay man, you kiss a gay robot assassin made of molten metal. God would understand.

    RZ: Don't see a sad thing about it. Lester's a hero. Jerkin' it in the shower. Hittin' a little wacky weed in the garage. Stayin' away from the math. Likin' it. Likin' all of it 'cept the bench pressin'. Gotta put some big wheels on that bar if he ever wants some size.

    HN: A movie about heppin' yourself, really.

    RZ: A hero's movie. NEXT CLIP.


    RZ: So it's an old man who looks like JoePa. Then this little kid--


    RZ: Why--


    HN: See, just a great movie about hustle.

    RZ: Gotta have hustle. Gotta drink some milkshakes. Gotta bowl. Gotta WORK.

    HN: Oh, it's all bout the work. Man starts life with nothing, and he winds up with a bowlin' alley in his house!

    RZ: Just does his job. Finds what he wants. Knows what he wants. Plays hard. Worker harder. Sleeps hardest. Gotta do all the little things. Oil isn't gonna strike itself, right?

    HN: Nope. Neither will Frank Broyles, but that's why I used to beat him with a phone book for contract extensions.

    RZ: Soles of the feet. Just the way the Vietnamese taught me.

    HN: You were in 'Nam, Ron?

    RZ: Worse. Jacksonville. Recruiting.

    HN: War is hell.

    RZ: So is Jacksonville.

    HN: You said it, brother.


    RZ: Worst movie ever made.

    HN: A tragedy. Just an utter goddamn tragedy, if you'll pardon the term.

    RZ: Didn't even pay Todd Graham a dime for his life story, either.

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    Jeff Driskel, if that is his real name, may or may not have an injury DAMMIT LADY PIPE DOWN THIS IS ESPIONAGE. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

    If you were a football coach, you could just say someone was hurt. Some coaches do this because they know being hurt can be a pretty obvious thing, and even if you camouflage it and pretend like someone isn't, a smart enough team will force you into subbing for the injured person really, really quickly. The cornerback who winces when he runs? You are throwing at that person until they are taken off the field for an able body.

    Then again, you could be like Will Muschamp. Muschamp comes from the ACL CONFIDENTIAL school of coaching, the one where each piece of injury news is a shiny nickel you do not want to just toss into the opposition's coffers. The upside is that you may be able to gain a momentary advantage, conceal an injury, and make your opponent prepare for two different things at the same time. That's the argument, at least, and some very smart football coaches like Bill Belichick make a lot of money thinking exactly like this.

    The downside: having everyone freak out about a possible injury, and then watching a player's mother embarrass you by breaking injury news for you because you won't talk to the media unless you really, really have to. If you have any other questions, please direct them to the press release "Florida Football 2012: Where █ and █ meet █ and make █."*

    *The Florida SID. Please tell us what this person does on a daily basis besides not answer phones.

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  • 08/14/12--14:22: COUNTDOWN: 16
  • Sometimes the best teams you love in a season are the ones that leave you no choice in the matter. Texas Tech 2008 had Eric "the Elf" Morris, Brandon Carter and his eyeblack warpaint, Graham Harrell and his horrendous Christmas sweaters, the slippery Baron Batch, and Crabtree, who was open. On Tuesday he was open, and on Wednesday he was open, and on Thursday and Friday he was open late, and then on Saturday he simply did not close, and was open from midnight until whenever he decided to close.

    When the moment arrived, it was four vert, thrown to the outside shoulder. It was always four vert, and everyone in the tortilla-tossing, full moon lunatic's ranch in Lubbock knew it would be four vert. Mack Brown knew it would be four vert, and so did #3 Curtis Brown in coverage. When we first saw it, we swore the ball went through the defensive back like a video game glitch, a mistake bailed out by bad programming and a hiccup in the processors of reality.


    In reality, the ball goes the only place it could go: over the outside shoulder, in the tiny gopher hope between the defenders, and into a pair of grasping receivers' gloves. And then there is Crabtree, pulling away and shedding his broken defenders like plastic flying off a crashing F1 car. Jaws drop on the sidelines; the stands turn into a hive of deranged bees.

    The camera catches Colt McCoy crushed on the sidelines, and then Mike Leach walking hurriedly across the field, and Musburger attempting to pick up the scattered pieces of his brain on-air while everyone realizes precisely what had happened: Mike Leach had called four vert, Graham Harrell let it loose, and Michael Crabtree carried it through the Stargate and into the great beyond. Four vert or die, motherfucker. Four vert or die.

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  • 08/15/12--07:19: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 8/15/2012


    Sometimes BBS stays up too late and drinks too much Jack3d, and this happens. Putting Paul Pasqualoni's face on anything makes it better, and we will continue to test this theory until it is proven to be a law of the natural world. We will be working on West Coast time today due to a visit to the Pac-12 studios. They go live today, and we'll be there. Does the office look like a supervillain's lair, complete with massive HD video walls and slick scandinavian furniture? YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT IT DOES.

    THESE ARE NOT REAL. But you need them to be, and we need them to be, and please, Nike, please put Oregon in these for a game. Like, a HUGE game, like the USC game, where they'll either fail or succeed while wearing giant terrifying duck eyes and grins on their head? Okay, we're glad we had this talk, you go make those now, and also make more variants of camo for VT, because they are clearly a camo-friendly fanbase who craves more.

    WE KNOW HOW THIS ENDS. GQ has a tiny sliver of an excerpt from Joe Posnanski's Joe Paterno book. The only real detail of note: the Paterno family had an adviser named "Guido," which by ethnicity is like us having uncles named "Bubba," "Butch," and two named "Buck," and we did and damn you stereotypes. Y U SO DURABLE?

    LET'S TALK OURSELVES INTO THIS. Don't fight it, and give in to the allure of a decent 2012 Texas A&M football team. You know you want to, just like you want to read anything abotu Ole Miss that sums up their football history as "brown liquor and bipolarity." Bill C. is a machine. Do not get in his way.

    THIS IS HOLLY'S FINEST WORK. Tommy Bowden, just wandering the streets of France going BALLON, BALLON!

    BECAUSE WE'RE ALL STILL OUTRAGED AND NEED MORE OUTRAGE. Andrew Sharp revisits the outrage factory over athletes getting breaks because they're athletes, but please do not miss the most important detail: if athletes at Boston College are receiving special treatment, then the word "special" does not cover what they get at schools with really good football programs.

    OHIO STATE AS GUS FRING WORKS. Particularly because he was blown up by Don, and then hired that Don. It's never emotional, man. It's business.

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  • 08/15/12--08:46: JOKER PHILLIPS SHREDS
  • If you have been waiting for the full-length video for J.D. Shelburne's "Farmboy," and you haven't, well, it's here. Joker Phillips plays bass in the band in the video. This is done without irony or references to South Park. Well done, country music.

    There are many things in this video, and all of them are terrible except Joker Phillips. Joker manages to keep his dignity intact, something he happens to be really good at as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. It's a requirement for the job, really, since it's going to be rough, and then rougher, and then they'll fire you to hire Tommy Tuberville. You are a better man than we are, Joker, and do a better job faking it as a bass player, too.


    This is J.D. Shelburne. He irons his hair, shops at the mall, and only works out his upper body. He wears a lot of unnecessary wristbands, has noncommittal facial hair, and is stuck in this old barn somewhere up in the rafters with the spiders.

    One day, a music executive asked an old farmer if he had anything of use. He said, "No, but there is this thing that lives in mah barn, and pesticide won't kill it, and I don't like to waste mah bullets. Maybe you could help me get it down?" The music executive said yes, because the old man was drunk and frightening, and also holding the gun that held the aforementioned precious bullets. The music executive made a mental note to never, ever run out of gas in rural Kentucky ever again.

    The music executive looked up. "Hey, do you like country music?"

    J.D. Shelburne looked down from the spot where he was trapped and said, "Mama. Mason Jar." Then he took his hand and gestured upward, because he did this every twenty seconds for no reason whatsoever.

    The old farmer scowled. "What you gonna do with him?"

    The music executive smiled. "We're gonna make that mongoloid himbo barn owl of yours a star, that's what we're gonna do."

    The old farmer smiled, and then shot the music executive in the leg for no reason.


    "You're eight. It's time you learned to drive. If the cops pull you over, say you've got progeria."


    "I'm going to sell the farm to developers. I'm also never going to see you again, because Grampa is movin' to Portugal. They sell wine by the barrel and women by the hour, and that's all the wisdom Grampa's got for you. Life's a mule, son. Beat the shit out of it and hope it's all over with quickly. There's gonna be a Lowe's and a Kroger here in 12 months. Try to pretend that won't be ten times more awesome than driving a tractor around 12 hours a day and firing warning shots over the bank man's head to keep him and the creditors away.

    "Don't try to find me: that'll just lead Wynn Duffy right to me, and then we're both dead."


    "But before you drive, let's get you good and hammered. Makes you less suspicious to the police that way."


    Just after saying "F-A-R-M-B-O-Y," this appears on the screen. I see your sly, Douglas Sirkian subversion there, director Cody Cannon.




    The barn is literally falling down, making J.D. Shelburne a S-H-I-T-T-Y F-A-R-M-B-O-Y in need of a contractor in a hurry. J.D. is also so religious his guitar goes to church. The angel wing shapes on his shirt aren't sweat: they're a holy stamp of approval for J.D. penchant for slapping crosses all over everything just to make sure people know he and the devil don't, you know, meet on random Thursdays to deadlift and talk about speed metal.


    Woman, just over the right shoulder of J.D.: clearly realizing what a horrible idea this all was, or otherwise caught at the exact moment that morning's Burger King breakfast decided to not let her have it her way. The song contains the song "Live by the bible," which is a great way to alienate the important atheist Kentucky farmer, J.D.


    JOKER SHREDS. He's the most pleasant part of this video besides this: it may lead to Spurrier doing a jig in a Kenny Chesney video, and then Spurrier's fake knee shooting right out of the joint like a howitzer and into Chesney's skull. You want this to happen. Thus do we encourage this, even as J.D. Shelburne pines for the days when he could just hang out in the rafters living off spare barn rats, and ironing his hair with old tractor parts he heated up on the roof.

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