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    The Cowboys in white hats defended their merciless turf against the men from Waco, just as they've done since 1939, and the Big 12's food chain remains intact.

    1. On the way into Stillwater, Oklahoma along I-35 North, I saw four accidents in an hour, cars discarded by indifferent roads into guardrails and each other. Oklahoma State Troopers attended services for the cars, gingerly motioning for flatbed tow trucks and shaking their heads at the wreckage, the panhandle-shaped state outlined in white on the black doors of their Magnums.

    Signs for Continental Resources drilling line the road, reminding Oklahoma that without horizontal drilling, life would be nearly impossible here.


    That all may be partially true. This is the part of America where ease runs out, where the weather turns mean. Look down from the airplane on the way in, and you will see the giant, skidding path of tornadoes carved into the fields around Moore, Oklahoma, where an EF5 tornado blew up a good chunk of a town in minutes. You can't see the swath the El Reno tornado cut from the plane. That one, also an EF5, from this past June was 2.6 miles wide and had other smaller tornadoes spitting out of it like bubbling lottery balls.

    one hand reaching up for warmth, the other holding a beer away from the heat.

    Okstatefan_mediumUSA Today Images

    2. It is a beautiful place, even with the sky coughing sleet. Pass the giant arrows stuck in the ground at Will Rogers World Airport, then run north though the city and out into the country that hits shockingly fast for anyone accustomed to living in sprawling web-cities like Atlanta or Los Angeles or Dallas. It is rolling, tawny farmsides, the occasional headbanging motion of an oil pump, billboards saying YES! WE HAVE THE COLDEST BEER, and a giant crucifix somewhere between Edmond and Guthrie. Look to the roadside long enough, and in the distance you will see a natural gas vent, an orange flame on the horizon like a stuttering sun.

    I followed the sand truck into Stillwater, which was like steering into a soft rain of buckshot for 10 miles.

    3. The cowboys huddled in tents pregame, some with tree-like gas warmers posted just outside the tent, one hand reaching up for warmth, the other holding a beer away from the heat. Others put blazing fire pits under the canopies, safety be damned. It was cold.

    If the fire pit sparked an ember into the canopy, and the whole damn thing caught fire, the cowboys could pull the flatscreens and beer away from the blaze before it got too far out of hand, then warm their hands by the now-larger and more impressive fire.

    The wind blew in the sides of the cloaked tents, turning them into warped cubes humming with footbally TV noises and the murmuring sounds of drinking. Students and alumni walked around with open beers in gloved hands. Some dealt with the warmth by donning full worksuits -- some in Realtree camo, some taken straight off the rack at Walmart -- after putting no fewer than three layers of clothing on first. Others stretched the limits of their goin'-out jeans by putting on long underwear tucked into their boots, but skipping the cowboy hat completely. The wind would have taken them straight off and parked them somewhere in a field just west of Tulsa.

    4. On the Strip, just by the corrugated metal sides of the brew-through called The Barn, a dude walked by me with a tall boy in hand. The other three were hanging out off a plastic four-ring he'd tied into his pockets. He looked cold and drunk. The sign on The Barn announced that they had the season's Beaujolais nouveau, and that they also had Lime-A-Ritas waiting and ready.

    5. Below a certain temperature, everyone outside the city of Philadelphia makes the conscious choice to be nice to each other. Baylor fans hurried from point to point in the cold unharassed, for the most part. Oklahoma State fans are not there to break either rank or rules. A mob of jaywalkers after the game crossed against the signal when traffic cleared, and an older fan plaintively complained, "NOOOO DON'T CROSS AGAINST THE SIGNAL."  A fan next to me said that Boone Pickens Stadium was the only place he had ever been told to cheer less loudly.

    Maybe that's a byproduct of the setting, which can be foreboding enough to allow for some free courtesy. The campus of Oklahoma State is the usual mishmash of new and old -- some utilitarian shed-buildings from the '60s, a glass-and-metal research center straight from the Logan's Run school of architecture, the old engineering building topped by two old oil derricks, and an old campus with broad lawns and turn-of-the-century campus buildings topped with dark cupolas. In sunshine it probably looks like any other pleasant college campus; in foreboding, overcast bluster, it has a prairie Something Wicked this Way Comes vibe.

    6. The trees opposite the Atherton Hotel are swept back, blown to a perma-lean by the unceasing wind. Someone has filled out the panes of the windows of one old building with messages. The most visible one, spelled out one letter per pane, reads: "ESPN > SI."

    Okstateboonepickens_mediumUSA Today Images

    7. Boone Pickens Stadium has T. Boone Pickens' name on it no fewer than four times in 10-foot high lettering, lit from behind with a soft orange glow. It is the biggest and most visible building in Stillwater, a blocked-in horseshoe with jack-o-lantern lighting topped with a ring of luxury suites that hum with warmth and probably expensive brown liquor. It's being poured to people not sitting on cold, aluminum bleachers.

    T. Boone could be somewhere up there, watching the beast he's fed from a wee pup into its burgeoning, snarling maturity. Pickens is largely responsible for taking the erector set of Lewis Field and morphing it into this, the place that will get so loud No. 4 Baylor can't make simple line calls on the field. He's also responsible for the JumboTron that plays Kurt Russell's snarling "Hell's comin' with me!" speech from Tombstone. He played a large part in making Mike Gundy the head coach. Oklahoma State stayed in the Big 12 when the conference was at risk of imploding and scattering to the winds. Assuming Pickens had nothing to do with that would be ignoring the basic realities of the program and the four huge, identical names ringing the stadium.

    Pickens is also not sitting in the stands on this Saturday night, losing all feeling in his lower body and regretting, every time the wind picks up a gear or two, the choice to not wear a second pair of long underwear. Pickens might be a lot of things, but he is definitely a.) the most influential and visible donor to any major program in college football outside of Phil Knight at Oregon, and b.) smarter than you, since he built a stadium and can sit where he pleases, such as inside where it's warm and they have booze.

    8. Baylor will not win this football game with No. 10 Oklahoma State. Baylor has not won a football game in Stillwater since 1939. They will walk off the field at Boone Pickens Stadium a numb, bedraggled mess standing behind a 49-17 margin. They will be savaged by 370 yards passing from the suddenly brilliant Clint Chelf and the mean work of a defense all too happy to let Baylor hand the ball over and to stand in the middle of Baylor's perpetually open passing lanes.

    And let's talk about how a team comes completely off the rails somewhere between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. You do it one stuttering wheel at a time until the entire train flips over and catches fire. You do it when Bryce Petty, with zero tacklers in the vicinity, trips over an invisible marmot on the one-yard line.

    You do it when, on the next play, Shock Linwood, Baylor's third-string running back playing due to injuries, reaches toward the goal line and hands the ball to the flummoxed-but-pleased Cowboys defense.

    You pull another wheel off the rails when a rattled Petty, pressured by three- and four-man fronts all night, can't hit on simple passes he has completed with ease all year. You continue the derailment when your defense can't stop Oklahoma State's receivers in double coverage, much less single coverage, and when the last real hiccup of a comeback attempt dies on a horrendous shotgun snap that soars over Petty's head like a wounded grouse.

    That's how it happens, one wheel at a time.

    9. That's too passive, though. You can't really imply that something just happened to Baylor. It was done, committed, ripped out of their hands and literally taken at every turn by Oklahoma State.

    The Cowboys were playing with naked aggression in freezing temperatures and doing everything Baylor was supposed to have been able to do. They were the ones baffling defenders with play-fakes out of a glorified wishbone and heaving throw-backs to the quarterback. They were the ones who spread the field. They then countered heavy up the middle with Kye Staley, 236 pounds of glorious, ripped rumble-up-the-middle who scored on the most important sequence of the game: the turnaround 99-yard trample by the Oklahoma State offense.

    There was nothing passive about this. Oklahoma State took this game, and then beat Baylor about the head and shoulders with it.

    10. It is a joy forever watching a bowling ball like Staley scatter pins and scare the hides off tacklers on the way into the end zone. That is all.

    Okstatestaley_mediumUSA Today Images

    11. "It's not Ames," he said. They said this more than once, especially in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter when, after a late cannibal's special of a passing touchdown, Oklahoma State began to run the clock out. (If you're wondering when that is in the Big 12, it's when you're up by 30 or so with five minutes left.) Up in Ames it was nine degrees, and someone was watching a bitter, meaningless contest between Kansas and Iowa State somewhere in the dark of superflyover country, someone with less reason to watch than anyone staying or leaving the Strip in Stillwater, someone wondering why they were watching at all out in the darker dark of an Iowa winter.

    Stillwater is not Ames in at least one sense: the Cowboys ruin dreams as a habit, not as accident. That the dark days of Squinky are dead, and that losing to a team like West Virginia can be regarded as a genuine accident that just happens to even the best of football teams. That Sports Illustrated's worst attempts at detailing the extraordinary benefits of being an athlete at Oklahoma State -- They have sex! And the mari-huana! Unlike any other student! -- slide off their truck hoods like so much goose shit in a gale. That they can now complain as a luxury, as fans did in the fourth quarter, that Gundy was letting Baylor back into the game when they knew Oklahoma State could score again if they wanted to really put some stank on what was already a lopsided beatdown.

    (For the record: shortly after this complaint, Oklahoma State passed for the final touchdown. Gundy also danced in the locker room, because he is a showman who gives the people what they want: destruction and light twerking.)

    Standing against titans like Texas and the historical bully to the south in Norman, Oklahoma State does more than survive. That they were the ones to kick Baylor back down the ladder is appropriate. They're ahead of them on the upstart trail and will brook no passing on the left or right.

    12. But Oklahoma State thriving is all the more astronomically unlikely and remarkable because of where it is and what it is. It is not a simple place to survive, a place of intense extremes and Biblical weather, of a sky so freaking huge it threatens to swallow the eyeballs if you look at it long enough. The economy rides the whims of geology and the market and the endless need to not freeze in your own house somewhere a thousand miles away.

    The bumps are real, substantial, and come without warning, just like the 3.9 earthquake that shook Stillwater on the morning of the Baylor game. Forget that for too long, and the land itself may remind you of just how tenuous and hard-fought the smallest of successes can be, much less the moment when your football team -- the most frivolous of things --pummels the speed freaks from Baylor on national television in the dark of a freezing Oklahoma night.

    13. TL; DR: Standard western plot. It got cold, and everybody but the cowboys died.

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    The head falling off is a delightful touch. (HT: R/cfb)

    ILLINOIS FIGHT! The most violent college football staff in the land can't stop pointing guns at each other as jokes.

    University of Illinois football staff member and former NFL player Matt Sinclair was charged Monday with two felonies after allegedly pointing an unloaded handgun at a vehicle carrying other staff members, authorities said.

    It was a joke, per Sinclair, who clearly understands how much people love jokes involving guns people don't know are empty. What the hell is in your drinking water, Champaign-Urbana, and how does it make you so angry, and yet so bad at a violent game?

    HE'S THE EASIEST MAN IN THE WORLD TO PLEASE. Les Miles talks Thanksgiving, and the last fork and/or spoonful, because let's be honest do you think Les Miles carefully considers his cutlery when eating, and doesn't just grab an implement and begin shoveling? He once ate an entire paella with a child's sand shovel. Best meal he ever had.

    WOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT FIRST GUY. Rich Rod's lost some weight, yo.

    "AUBURN PLAYED A GREAT GAME." It's good to see that Nick Saban, fountain of human happiness, is still mad about the Bluegrass Miracle. A game that his team won. And did not lose. NICK SABAN IS STILL MAD AT HIS 2004 LSU TEAM WHICH HE DOES NOT COACH ANYMORE, AND AT 2004 NICK SABAN, WHOSE CELLS HAVE LONG SINCE BEEN SHED AND RECREATED IN A NEW MAN.

    "WE'LL EITHER HAVE IT OR WE'LL NEED IT." It is not an important Auburn football game without the inclusion of a church, Auburn Jesus, and related spiritual instruction.

    MOOS VENGEFUL OF HIM. If you talked shit to Washington State AD Bill Moos during Wazzu's disastrous 2012, you really might not get on that bowl game train with the Cougs thanks to his personal blacklist. If you're thinking, "Oh, that'll be everyone at EDSBS for Florida's bowl game next year," well ahahahaah like we're ever going to be good at football with Will Muschamp as our head coach ever again.

    ETC: Oh, Stanford football, it's cute that you think you have nerd game when this exists.

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    12-0. Northern Illinois finished the season 12-0 in the MAC, joining Ohio State as one of two teams to finish undefeated in the conference. Congratulations to both!

    WINSTON STATUS: ACTIVE AND UNCHARGED. As the decision about his case will take another two weeks, putting the movements of any and all legal machinery out way past the ACC Championship Game.

    LOL "MAGIC" Well, if even Bill C says it's an integral part of beating Bama, then it must be both real and necessary.

    MICHIGAN MAN IS SALTY. This may seem a bit over the top at 7-4 on the year, but if you'd been dealing with the Pizza Lord's haphazard, extractive management of the Michigan Football resource for the past few years, you'd be pardoning the sale of home tickets to Ohio State fans, too. P.S. Al Borges says your words do not hurt him.

    ANDRE WILLIAMS IS MOVING AND YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO STOP HIM. We were going to try to type out the phonetics for the Invincibility Star song, but it ended up looking like the word "doodoo" typed over and over again, and the last thing we want to do is give Boston College's juggernaut of a running back a reason to smash through our house like a derailed freight train. (Not that he needs a reason, or could be stopped.)

    ETC: That thing where the initial joke is not funny, but the excessiveness of the follow-through validates said premise. Running an eight minute mile is no big deal buddy HOLY CRAP YOU DID IT WITH A LOADED BACKPACK YOU FOOL. This really could not be made up, and would be considered insane if not totally true.

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  • 11/27/13--13:34: ENJOY YOUR THANKSGIVING

    We're going to be out for our national day of thanks, doing what you're doing: eating, spending time with family, putting out the small fires that result when someone makes the mashed potatoes incorrectly, and then filing police reports when those small fires become felony assault charges between loved ones. (Properly done potatoes are worth court costs, at the very least.)

    Because we recorded an entire podcast on this topic last night and lost it due to a busted mike, let's review the important tips for football fans looking to not just survive the holidays, but thrive:

    1. If you have kids, hint vaguely about the hideous things they will do if allowed to stay up past 7 p.m. Prepare a clear path through which a drive to freedom, and the first quarter of the Egg Bowl, may be easily attained.
    2. Replace your turkey with a pizza, because no one likes turkey and delivery pizza is the official dish of the United States. Let dad cut it up with your best carving knife, because jesus just look what you're doing to it, Michael J. Fox. Your hands are shakier than a British colonial mapmaker's, man.
    3. If you have the onerous task of watching a rivalry game you know will only result in emotional pain and mental anguish, be thankful for the small things. Celebrate every successful handoff for a loss of three yards made without a fumble; consider the small pleasures of tackles made downfield that do not go for touchdowns; thank the deity of your choice for the ease of a decisive firing, and the knowledge that things will eventually get better, or that you will die and lose all awareness or concern for life itself, much less a football team.
    4. When in doubt after trying this and still caring: you could be UVA.
    5. If you are UVA: you could be Southern Miss.
    6. If you are Southern Miss: you could be dead.
    7. If you are dead: you could be Southern Miss.

    Be safe, and we will see you on Friday. In the meantime, GET IT:


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    God is good

    God is trill

    Let us thank him for Starkville

    Bless the food upon our plate

    Bless billboards that read "OUR STATE"

    For Mister Freeze and Dr. Bo

    For Houston Nutt hiding in the trees

    Because he's hiding in the trees

    He has a mansion in the trees

    Because he's basically a huge squirrel




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    YOU'RE THE VOICE, TRY AND UNDERSTAND IT. What you need is a training montage, Will Muschamp.

    Someone please fire this man.

    NOOOOOOO BULLY. It wasn't the dog, which is sort of a relief since the dog would not have survived a collision with the ESPN camera cart. But it still sucks that the woman who played one of the humanoid Bullys for Mississippi State was run over last night just before overtime, and suffered a compound fracture in the process. She got surgery last night, and is reportedly doing just fine this morning.

    IN OTHER INJURIES. Ole Miss did lose the Egg last night, and it only took Dan Mullen risking his entire career and Dak Prescott to go 6-6 (and beat Ole Miss, of course.)

    THE GAWWWWWWD. It's rivalry weekend, a good time to spend significant hours with family and loved ones. Fortunately for you, Bill C loves his spreadsheets as much as he loves his family, and that's why you get 5000 words on Rivalry Saturday before noon on Friday.

    AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION. Everyone's number two, who if he hangs around long enough will be the number one. That is A.J. McCarron in a very neat capsule description, sir.

    FLORIDA STUDENTS ARE GIANT PRESCHOOLERS. That's accurate, and not entire uncomplimentary. #TeamSkittles

    THANK YOU, TAIWANESE ANIMATORS. The Iron Bowl as it should be rendered.

    ETC: Can't wait for March Madness.

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    But it's not.

    You should be dead, Auburn.

    There are five bullet holes in your jersey and singe marks on your pants. Those marks on your helmet are ... machete? Broadsword? Those bullet holes are right in the middle of your chest, where you would shoot a man to end his life. And yet here you are, unperforated and unbleeding except for that ... we're not even going to talk about what kind of animal left those teeth marks on your ass. They're bigger than a dog's, smaller than a shark's. Possibly rabid. Possibly from a "Saban." You're gonna need shots. Some serious, large-gauge needle shots.

    You were dead, and dead-making things happened to you. You were hit with a 99-yard touchdown pass by AJ McCarron that should have killed you, a head shot that had the medics reaching for the body bags, not the bandages. You were outgained on offense by 102 yards and appeared to be in danger of being overrun at, what, 11 different points in the game? We swear we saw them overrun you 11 different times. We totally saw you flattened in the second quarter, when you gave up 21 points. There was dust and screaming, and we swear you were gone.

    Why aren't you dead? Everyone who saw this wants to know, because we saw it. We saw how Alabama snuffed out drive after drive, and slowed your blitzkrieg down to three spluttering bursts for touchdowns. You only passed the ball 16 times and didn't even tally 100 yards passing. Alabama didn't even have a turnover; you did.

    We gave up hope.

    The most dominant offensive line in college football had you in its hands, a fragile egg ready to be crushed and added to Nick Saban's boundless omelet of vanquished souls. Saban was going to eat it for his Saturday dinner, like he always does, alone in the film room and frowning happily.

    We gave up hope, which we had because the idea of a game requires some notion of stupid, irrational, and effervescent hope. Alabama's chief effect as a football program had not been pleasure or even a compelling excellence you could admire. It was a cloud of desolation, blocking out all hope of resistance, a sorrow for all but their fans. When Alabama lays a 21-point quarter on you, you do not recover. You lose, they win. They move onto the next line of sad cannon fodder.

    And when they uncorked the cruise missile -- AJ McCarron's Heisman moment that wretched paleocommentator Gary Danielson wanted oh so badly -- and you flew back, stunned by the longest passing touchdown in Alabama history, that should have been it. When Alabama had fourth-and-one, its offense tanked up to roll on three feet of easy yardage, that should have been it. On third-and-two on the next possession, that should have been it, and when Alabama's kicker was lined up to reach a 10-point lead, that should have been it, too -- right until the instant the ball found the hands of an Auburn defender, setting up the final, improbable counterstrike.


    We didn't believe that, either. There was no reason to, not with the Tigers offense taking its time, running for first downs like they were setting up for a field goal, marching aimlessly towards some vague spot just outside the Opelika city limits.

    There would be someone downfield when Nick Marshall threw just his 16th pass of the night. He found Sammie Coates, and the camera pulled back to show ... Sammie Coates, and grass, and that scene rimmed with lunatics vibrating dangerously around him. It was hard to believe that Nick Saban had not foreseen this, and had some counter built in just for this moment. A safety should have parachuted into the scene. Reinforcements were somewhere, just off the frame, waiting for deployment.

    There were none.

    Auburn tied the game, and with Jordan-Hare Stadium seconds from both nervous and structural collapse, Alabama drove until there was one paltry second on the clock and the chance to win the game with a Hail Mary. Or with a field goal no one could make. Saban chose the field goal, and his backup kicker who had not missed three field goals so far that night. You should remember this: when the choice came between trying for the long field goal or the Hail Mary, Nick Saban opted for the savior of mediocre NFL souls, the field goal. He was like a floundering child grasping for the safety ladder in the deep end. It felt like a word no one has associated with Alabama since Mike Shula's cheerful balloon of a head bobbed on the sidelines: desperate.

    And who expects that scenario? Who, when faced with the impossible, pulls the pin on the grenade in the bandolier? Who has a returner back to catch the field goal, anticipating the possibility of stealing a game he has no statistical sense winning? What cartoon rabbit pulls the magician from the hat, then smashes him with a giant hammer produced from thin air?

    What lunatic shit are you on, Gus Malzahn?

    What lunatic shit are you on, Gus Malzahn? That's what we're trying to ask. Who are you? What international cartel's books did you brilliantly launder before entering WitSec under an alias as a rural high school football coach? How did you take the SEC's worst team last year and turn it into this, a team running a mutant Wing-T with five plays capable of shredding the tracks of college football's most fearsomely engineered war machine? You have a former DB who cannot pass at quarterback, and the former head coach of one of college football's worst teams in recent history at defensive coordinator.

    How? How is any of this working at all, much less against the best college football coach alive? Have you flown a spacecraft before, and if so, did you steal it? The answer is yes to both, but we want to hear it publicly, from you and on the record.

    Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards through a forest of burly, huffing Alabama lineman for a win. That's how unreality is defined: a high school coach who once traded a car for a fax machine got his team to cheat football death a hundred times in a night, and then came out victorious against the best football team of the era.

    We are out of words. You should be dead, Auburn, because we saw you die. And here you are, breathing in the flesh, able to say this: you made the Alabama Crimson Tide kick the winning touchdown for you.

    John Reed, USA Today

    More from SB Nation college football:

    Thanksgiving weekend scores and schedule


    Ohio State beats Michigan in overtime

    College football news | Recap of Black Friday’s games

    Long CFB reads | The night Baylor died in Stillwater

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    The Boise State coach rejects a lot of offers, and we just want to help him do that efficiently.

    Boise State coach Chris Petersen is out of the running for the USC job, a job he was never in the running for because he is Chris Petersen and will be staying at Boise until the end of his career. This happens every year: without fail, someone decides to call Chris Petersen to see if he would even think about leaving Boise, and he has to politely decline.

    It has to get old. However, we are here to help. We have written an updated form letter Petersen can use for just this purpose.


    Simply fill out the blanks as needed, Coach Petersen, and get along with the business of being America's least mobile famous football coach.

    (Illustration by @CelebrityHotTub)

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    2. When my sister was born, my father went to bed at two a.m. in Columbia, South Carolina. He was watching me. I remember this because I have an abnormally long memory, and remember things from a very, very young age. This made be about two years old, sleeping soundly in some footy pajamas, probably, tucked back into bed after getting home from the hospital at two a.m. with my dad. At four a.m., two hours later, someone called the house. One of the Wendy's he supervised in Columbia had burned to the ground that night, torched by a blaze started when employees left wadded-up uniforms on top of a cranky old water heater. He had to take me in the wee hours of the morning, probably still in the footy pajamas, to survey the damage. One of my first memories of that Wendy's: charred black frame, dinging tables with the old-tymey laminate newsprint melted off the sides, water dripping everywhere, and the damp smell of an extinguished building fire in the cold of the morning. He now had two hours sleep, two kids and an incinerated restaurant. Sometimes that happens.

    3. Or we can talk about my attorney, who was driving down a road near Okeechobee, Florida in your average rainstorm when a truck slid across the road towards his Cadillac CTS, which he owned because he is a very old young man. He spun, hit the brakes, slid again, did a 360, and spiked a guardrail that flipped the entire black crashbox of a car into the air. My attorney remembers distinctly the sight of the dashboard, now fully upside down and parallel with the horizon with ultra-green Florida swampgrass beneath him, lighting up with the words "TRACTION CONTROL ENGAGED" like that was going to help with the tires spinning against air, and the car set to take a Talladega endover through the Everglades. He flipped into a drainage ditch that was normally full, and totally capable of drowning someone in a giant brick of a car like his. It was dry. He lived without a scratch, because sometimes you survive the things that happen.



    5. Or we can talk about the time when, during the wasted years between 22 and 30, I almost ate a cinder block thrown off the Livingston Avenue Overpass at one in the morning. We were driving through Tampa on our way to Key West for a vacation we could not afford. I remember going eighty-one miles per hour with the lights shining on an empty stretch of moonless, dark Florida highway when, mid-sentence in a conversation with my wife, the car seized and the windshield exploded. I drove about a quarter-mile down the road, checked the car, and continued driving to Tampa. The next morning, the insurance agent rubbed his fingers on the gray dust on the dented strut across the top of the windshield. Another inch or two, or another miles per hour slower, and the cinder block would have landed in my teeth. We had no car, and no money to fix it, and we were in Tampa. Those details in succession are redundant, but there they are. Sometimes those things happen, and you make it worse by not being ready for them.


    7. Your car at one point in life will assure you that traction control is engaged while it is upside down and flying through the air, or you'll nearly get killed by a cinder block thrown by some failed anonymous murderer in the dark of a Florida night, or you'll be walking through a burned-down restaurant with a two year old in one arm and a newborn in the hospital. And to be honest, in any of those situations, there isn't a guarantee that any of that will get better. Things may suck forever, and then simply end without redemption.



    9. I'd list everyone who was injured for Florida this year, but I don't want this to run long, and that list is very, very long. I could list every horrible play, and every horrible moment, but again that list is...long, so very long that it is hard to pick exactly one moment that was so much worse than others as to merit a separate note. This team was so uniformly bad, produced football of such horrendous quality so consistently, and was incapable of doing anything but playing defense that even the Georgia Southern debacle felt like simple logic. No defeat, at the end, felt like an insult. They became facts presented with little flourish, like a contractor pointing out rotted spots in the foundation of your house. You see that? It's gonna fall in, because it's shit. This is a shitty house. I don't even mean that as an insult, because that is a technical term indicating the extreme degree of shit you're living in here. Just shit, in all directions, buddy. That's the word.


    11. It's probably Georgia Southern, though, but only by the thinnest of margins over almost any other moment in the season after September. I watched the final of that game and put "Rose of Cimarron" on the jukebox in a Stillwater bar and ordered a drink. I wasn't even mad. It just made sense at that point for it to happen, and for me to listen to some Poco and do a shot of Fireball.

    12. You can't even be that mad, because knowns are known at this point. Will Muschamp tries hard, and is not very good at his job. This is not a matter of conjecture: by record he is not very good at being a head coach, and by recent trend is not improving. He could get better, but as a rule people do not change or learn from their mistakes. They will likely make the same ones over and over, and fail to learn from them. I've said this before, because it doesn't change. When it does, we will stop saying it.


    14. That is not what you hope for anyone, but it is what you can bet on as a guiding principle. The offensive coordinator and line coach have been fired. In response, based on prior experience, Muschamp will hire someone else to fail, and in a year he will be fired. I do not want that to happen. This is probably what will happen. In a year there will be a new coach, and a new staff, and then the process of rebuilding this teetering deluxe swamp mansion of a football program will start over again.

    15. It will be the continuation of a disaster you might have thought was over, and you'll just have to deal with it. Not a real disaster for you, mind you, but a disaster nonetheless. For some it'll be a dim memory, like a burned down restaurant that's probably since been converted into a popular Mexican restaurant, but still has the distinctive roofline of what was once a Wendy's. If you're lucky, it will be a dim spot obscured by subsequent happinesses. For the young, it'll be a cold, weird memory.

    16. You will have to deal with it, so you might as well turn up. I got to watch the Iron Bowl with my dad this Saturday, the Alabama fan who had to babysit me and take part in an arson investigation three decades ago. Auburn ran back the field goal for the winning score. When Chris Davis crossed the goal line, he paused, said "That just sucks," and laughed. I had to laugh during the FSU/UF game. Skyler Mornhinweg was passing the football. There is no other choice when confronted with something that tragicomic.


    18. You also have to appreciate those brave enough to endure it. Jon Halapio played with a torn pec for most of the season. Tyler Murphy ran for his life and played in pain before he lost all ability to throw, and had to yield to poor brave Skyler Mornhinweg, whose year can best be described as sheer, foolish valor. Solomon Patton never, ever surrendered to despair, and was maybe the only consistent player on offense the entire year. I don't know what a Trey Burton is, but he tried to Trey Burton, and that's commendable in a debacle situation.

    19. I would like to try and adequately describe what happened to the overtaxed, overcommitted, and battered defense that tried to carry this team singlehandedly, but there's just tears where words should be, and blubbering where a thank you would be spoken. Accept some interpretive dance, and a gesture invented on the spot to thank you that means "The gratitude and admiration that surpasses speech, and the admiration for that which was destroyed in an act of total ruination."

    20. All in all, you were a horrible team, and horrible teams are filled with brave individuals who know they're going to take a public beating every week. That bravery should be saluted. You tried, and that's more than some do.

    21. In summary: there was no point to anything that happened to this team, or anything that they were told to do. It was bad, and it might not get better--not for a long, long time. You will want to say the things you say to something you love when it's bad, and it's likely going to stay that way. You rain cliches. You get back on the horse. You're my favorite horse even if you never win a race. Slow and steady wins the race. Winning is a habit, and so is losing. Something that goes back to horses. More slow progressions, and a gradual hammering to a vaguely defined excellence. Courage, or something. Apply courage and determination to the wound, and repeat.

    22. You run out of cliches, and hit the cold bottom. You say the word: terrible. Everyone's terrible sometimes. You've been terrible. You've been terrible at a lot of things. You're terrible at caring. Caring is stupid. Why would you care about something stupid? The only reason is that everyone's a VIP to someone. It is either stupidity or love or something indistinguishable from either, but everyone is a VIP to someone, even when they deserve it the least. And once you decide they're important, it is either a great weakness or strength of the heart that they stay important forever whether it makes sense or not.

    23. You can never decide if it does. You play the song. You let the rest burn.

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  • 12/03/13--08:31: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 12/3/2013


    Sark got the hire, and Ed Orgeron resigned, ending the reign of college football's best stepdad ever. Players cried. Orgeron signed off with an all-caps huzzah, and will get a job at UConn, or Wake Forest, or somewhere else where they desperately need recruits, and um...well, we'll worry about the rest when we get those recruits. Steve Sarkisian will take over, Orgeron will go back to being the hustling, bellowing fearsome Ed O of old, and we'll forget the time that he went 6-2 in the Pac-12 by feeding everyone junk food way past midnight, patting a lot of backs, and turning into the snuggliest killing machine/spot uncle on the West Coast.

    THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO CAN COACH FOOTBALL. Washington now has to replace a football coach with someone else who likes to boat to work. Jim Mora is allegedly one of those people, mostly because he went there and also because he did once state how much he liked that job while coaching the Atlanta Falcons.

    THIS IS PROBABLY FAKE AS HELL. Then again, having watched some Alabama fans tip, it may not be. For additional MEGAGUMPIN', see this, which is gumping beyond any level of gumping since, well, since someone actually shot another person over not being upset enough over this game.


    WELL, HE DID SAY THAT. Urban Meyer does make a convincing case against his own team.

    WE'LL ALLEGEDLY BE BACK. Andy's so much more sanguine about this. Meanwhile, FSU fans are fired up enough to challenge entire bars to machete fights.

    HELL YES, MARCUS HALL. Our cousin did the wrong thing in The Game, and that is what made it so gloriously right.

    ETC: THE MOST AMAZING INDIE VIDEO GAME EVER. This is curling at its finest.

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    SB Nation's Justin Bopp mapped the chaos that was the final play of the 2013 Iron Bowl, including the Auburn radio call.

    The play that ended the 2013 Alabama-Auburn game deserves a proper diagram, if only to explain the inexplicable for future generations. They will not believe it happened if we don't explain the science to them, and no one needs yet another conspiracy theory surrounding football in the state of Alabama.

    (Click for a big version.)


    You may buy the poster here, created by SB Nation Baseball's Justin Bopp (who also happens to be a talented graphic designer on the side.)

    More from SB Nation college football:


    New bowl projections: FSU-Ohio State national title

    New BCS standings: Ohio State No. 2, Auburn No. 3

    College football news | Sarkisian leaves USC for Washington

    Long CFB reads | The night Baylor died in Stillwater

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    Sure, you want to talk about the Iron Bowl and Championship Week, but after such an intense weekend of activity we need to ease into it. Stretch a bit. Maybe talk for a good twenty minutes about the restaurants most likely to be stocked to the rafters with sad people eatings meals of sorrow alone and abandoned by the world.

    We are on iTunes under sports podcasts now, but you may listen/download directly here, or listen on Soundcloud below.

    The leaders in the clubhouse after much internet and podcast discussion, for the record:

    1. Applebees. Now with robot waiters for MAXIMUM SADNESS.
    2. Waffle House. Somewhat debunked for on the podcast, because as we point out: one is never truly alone at Waffle House, ever, even if one wants to be. It's part of the design.
    3. Denny's.
    4. Shoney's.
    5. Panera. Basically built so everyone is sort of alone even if someone is sitting across the table from you.
    6. Arby's. Because have YOU ever seen anyone eat there with company? Have you ever not been there alone, eating horsemeat out of shame?

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  • 12/05/13--08:24: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 12/5/2013


    Internet favorite Bob Stitt didn't even make the finalists, but that's just as well with Golden, Colorado looking like Cabo in comparison.

    HATIN' ASS SPURRIER IS STILL REAL. We make nothing up, and merely quote the man off-record unfairly in phone conversations we have with him late at night. With our minds. Alone, laying in bed. Talking on a Fisher-Price toddler phone. (Also, Spurrier's right if you look at their strength of schedules, which won't be as much of an issue once the playoff starts, just as Spurrier's wanted for years.)

    SHUT UPPPPPPPP. Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is the new coach at the University of Texas please shhhh this is a secret don't tell anyone and congrats for not skipping over this Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas Nick Saban is not going to Texas

    ALL IS WELL PEOPLE OF ALACHUA. well just gotta go back to work and roll those sleeves up and---

    REAL THINGS ON FACEBOOK. Sure, that makes no fucking sense whatsoever, let's do it.

    ETC: Slow down. Grab that wall. Wiggle like you're trynta make your ass fall off. Gas pedal. It's Joan Didion's birthday and you should read all this free writing of hers which is very good and which you can try to do yourself (and fail.) Mario 64 corrupted is the most corrupt thing you will ever see. The World Cup Draw is tomorrow, so get learnt.

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  • 12/06/13--07:04: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 12/6/2013

    JOHNNY FOOTBALL IS LEGAL NOW. Juan Futbol turned 21 yesterday. His Twitter feed indicated he may have been enjoying his first taste of alcohol ever, as all responsible Americans wait until the legal drinking age to consume the sweet nectar of adulthood.

    Enjoy responsibly, and wait until marriage for sex.

    AU REVOIR, LE ROBOT. Chris Petersen finally left Boise this morning, according to every reporter in the universe, for the U-Dub job. Petersen had very few jobs he would leave Boise for, but Washington was one, and unlike USC would let him run things pretty much his way: quietly, and without a video crew up your ass 24/7. To review: USC hired one of their former coordinators who went just above .500 at Washington, and Washington hired one of the best three or four coaches in the nation in response. (And as we're writing this, the Idaho Statesman confirms, and probably quietly excuses itself to go weep in the hallway.)

    CUTCLIFFE LANDSCAPING AND FOOTBALL CONSULTATION. David Cutcliffe's job at Duke in the early days involved picking up gatorade bottles out of the grass himself.

    READ THIS SLAVES READ IT NOW. Holly's viewing guide for Week 15 is mandatory and OH GOD WE'RE ALMOST OUT OF FOOTBALL.

    MACK BROWN DECISION PARTY. Thank you for your service to this nation, Catlab.

    IF NELLY BELIEVES YOU ARE DISRESPECTED YOU ARE BEING DISRESPECTED. This is the proper way to use a GIF in a news story.

    ETC: Watch the feet. Wright Thompson wearing a gas mask for both fun AND profit. Every single damn state done in Lego is delightful, but then you see West Virginia and it gets transcendent.

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    Feeling down about the US Men's National Team's draw for the 2014 World Cup? Spencer Hall finds reason for optimism and reminds you to ante up.

    You're wrong if you think the United States men's national soccer team got "screwed." "Screwed" implies someone taking your job after some country club negotiations and white-collar chicanery. "Screwed" is you, staring at a hospital bill you and your descendants won't be able to pay. "Screwed" is for schnooks, losers, and bumpkins outflanked by the cruel, plotting hands of The Man living high in his mansion on the hill.

    You got a beautiful goddamned gift in getting utterly and completely f----d by FIFA

    No, United States soccer fans, you did not get "screwed." You got a beautiful goddamned gift in getting utterly and completely f----d by FIFA. This is always act one of the movie. This is you failing at the dance-off and getting served. This is Brad Wesley bulldozing the one man in town who stood up to him. This is the owner turning off the cold water, putting you on buses, and daring you to win the league before she closes shop and takes the whole operation to Miami. You just lost your first street race, but you'll be damned if you aren't gonna live your life a quarter mile at a time.

    Oh you have been given a gift: a spot at the bottom of a pit with Ghana, Germany, and Portugal standing right on your back to start the fight. Sepp Blatter stands at the lip of the pit, laughing at you and drinking a Coca-Cola laced with human growth hormone and whatever else keeps his evil, grinning corpse clinging to life. You have been given the sweetest of motivations: revenge against the shadowy, foreign-ish illuminati who pull the strings of existence with malevolent intent.

    You'll have to take them on one by one.

    Germany? Jurgen Klinsmann molded them. He knows their cheat codes, and has married this U.S. team's ability to produce mediocre rap albums with the precision of a German machine. He's our daywalker, a soccer Blade who knows how these sunless vampires work from the inside-out. You might think I'm saying that German soccer players are machines, and that Klinsmann will infect them with a computer virus disabling their ability to attack us?

    It worked in Independence Day. You're not laughing anymore. You're believing, and that's the first step.

    Ghana? Sure, they've beaten us two World Cups in a row, but defeat's never meant yielding the fight for Americans, a people locked in fierce contest with all of the following indomitable opponents:

    • Obesity
    • The History Channel
    • An inability to use turn signals, ever
    • Turkey fryers
    • Herpes
    • Poverty
    • Drake
    • Squirrels
    • Flossing regularly
    • The werewolf we must, by curse, fight each and every night behind the QT until one of us is knocked unconscious
    • Science

    We as a nation are winless against all of these -- AND YET WE FIGHT. Because we must. We fight because AMERICA. We probably won't beat Ghana because that's not something we seem to do, but whatever. You're our "spouse-fight over whether you put peanut butter in the fridge or not," Ghana, and like so many other battles we'll keep up the argument no matter how doomed it might be.

    Portugal's easy. They are beautiful, talented, and as fragile as elderly herons in a stiff breeze when adversity strikes. Oooooooh, but Ronaldo is so impossibly beautiful. Our forefathers were ugly bastards with wooden teeth, syphilis, and smallpox scars, and our current national hero is Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is not pretty: he is ruggedly handsome, he tried to save the world from the earnest tyranny of John Cena and he ruled Egypt as the Scorpion King.

    This war's over before it even started, Portugal. Call him anything but "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson" and we'll alter the terms of your premature surrender to the harshest degree imaginable. Now go cry into pillows made of your chief export, cork, you beautiful, frangible Iberians.

    You shouldn't even be allowed to complain about travel, America. Yes, you have to go to Manaus, the swampy capital of Brazil's hellishly hot Amazonian jungle territory. But you're from America, where we have a whole state of Amazonian swampland filled with danger. It's called Florida, and it's where we send our old people, vacationing children, and charismatic felons. Manaus is just Orlando with a port, attractive people and health care. Our people fly thousands of miles a day just to smell its well-vacuumed hotels. Fear nothing about it, since it's practically home already, and getting there involves one of the things we do best: sitting.

    You need to do what great Americans have done for years, USMNT: resort to brazen theft. You need to steal this World Cup. You see that man in the Ronaldo jersey shining? Get him off those goddamn diamonds. You don't like Germany? Take their rings off, then. We don't complain about our literal lot in this World Cup life, America. We ante the f--- up until we're selling Sepp Blatter's minks on eBay and maxing out his credit cards on room service champagne.

    You're right where all heroes start: hopeless, f----d, and with no choice but to turn the hell up. SO TURN UP, USMNT.


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    Around C, the Alphabetical will just start lying to you, because you need a pick-me-up.

    Atlanta. The home of Rich Homie Quan, whom you should check out, per Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.

    Contrary to what you saw -- a baring of the teeth similar to a human smile and numerous avowals of satisfaction in making people happy -- Mark Dantonio had no fun beating Ohio State, because Mark Dantonio famously avoids fun at all times. He most definitely did not dance in the locker room. He also did not take great joy in voting his own Spartans at the No. 2 spot in the Coaches poll, ruining Ohio State's entire season, and snapping their 24-game win streak.

    Nope. Disregard all false flags. Mark Dantonio has no emotions, and is doing nothing to complicate your view of him and Michigan State as dreary, run-first slamball from the barrens of the Mitten State. (That 300-yard passing game from Connor Cook? A typo. He passed for 35 yards, then ran the speed option 28 times for 38 yards, just as Michigan State Football Jesus intended.)

    Briles. You can be told that Art Briles has also spent maybe four or five days outside the state of Texas EVER, is getting a new stadium built for his pleasure just across the Brazos River at Baylor, and is getting old enough to just want to stay in one place for once.

    But sure, Redskins fans. Art Briles would love to uproot his whole family and work for an NFL franchise that has ruined everything it touches for more than a decade now, abandoning his life's work and stopping the upward swing of one of college football's most charismatic football programs. He craves a ceiling of 7-9 in the NFC East and weekly calls from the man who built Johnny Rockets. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

    Contra. Then again, let's play with that and really sucker you into the story. What better time to leave, than when you are hitting the end of your career and want not just to try something slightly different, but an entirely different galaxy of different?

    Coaches aren't just about the money; they're about the challenge, and what could be more challenging than the NFL? More accurately, what could be more challenging than trying to win in the NFL under the careful, skilled management of Dan Snyder, the same virtuoso whose management has generated a losing record for the franchise since 1999 and the hatred of once-loving fans who now hope for improvement upon the sale of the franchise or Snyder's death?

    See? That's already sounding plausible before we bring up the massive money he could use to secure his family forever and the joy of proving all those NFL meatheads and joyless Prisco-tarians wrong about spread offenses. It feels like a story you could believe if you wanted to, even though we just strung together some suppositions and cheap psychology together next to a few barely relevant facts.

    Deceit. But that last part is not what you want to hear. That's why the Alphabetical this week will be nothing but lies about college football at the end of 2013 that someone wants desperately to believe. For instance:

    Excellence is named Sarkisian. There is no way you are wrong in either way about Steve Sarkisian.

    You are a USC fan. You are correct in every way. Washington was a heinous rebuilding job of a derelict program rotting from the floor to the rafters, and merely getting it on the high side of .500 was an achievement by itself. Coaches don't always need to go 10-2 to do a good job, at least as long as we're talking about your program. Just look at Mike Leach, bowl eligible in Pullman and solving USC's problems for them by beating Lane Kiffin in the Coliseum.

    See, look, we have historical data points and everything. It's practically fact before we hit you with something like "Darrell Royal was fired from Mississippi State before he took the Texas job" and "even Nick Saban got fired once."

    Failure is named Sarkisian. You are a Washington fan and would like to believe he underachieved in going 34-29 and never competing seriously for a Pac-12 title in tenure. Congratulations on selling high and on hiring a new head coach who doesn't appear to be some kind of preppy sasquatch in his Wikipedia photo.


    You hired a coach who can't gameplan against life well enough to realize a stiff breeze will catch beneath that collar, lift him airborne, and carry him out over the cold, shark-infested Pacific Ocean. If he can't beat aerodynamics, what will he do against UCLA?

    You know who does gameplan for everything? Chris Petersen, whom you just hired, a man so focused he doesn't even like talking to people not attached to him by football. Petersen is the Fed chairman of college football: reclusive, powerful, and speaking once a year for about 20 minutes before retreating back to his spreadsheets. He's the man you wanted, and he's the man you have, and it will all work out no matter what happens.

    Gruden. Back to Saban, the next coach for Texas, the Washington Redskins, the Houston Texans (once Briles declines, of course,) and the Michigan Wolverines.

    Why would he go? Well, you're not thinking like a proper fulfillment junkie, so start by answering this: why wouldn't he go? Why wouldn't he take the challenge of becoming the Phil Jackson of college football, hopping from well-positioned program to well-positioned program? Phil really is better at this than Nick is, mostly because Jackson stays for a while and cloaks any ambitions in amiable stoner Buddhism. But it is basically the same M.O., and ... see how convincing that is?

    Just like Jon Gruden to the Volunteers or to Notre Dame or to wherever, it's possible. Couple it with some meandering speculation, and we got ourselves a veritable internet grease fire on our hands.

    Heppin'. Also, at any point in a coaching search, you may mix in Houston Nutt's name. He's the reggaeton horn of coaching speculation: festive, strange, and always an attention-getter.

    Independence. Missouri, the hometown of Harry Truman. "The buck stops here" was the man's motto, and that should be Gary Pinkel's since he was to blame for Missouri's disastrous SEC Championship game performance, and the bitter end to Mizzou's season. The Tigers won the SEC East in just their second year in conference, had a brilliant offensive game against Auburn, and had their closest shot at a national title game spot ever despite losing their starting quarterback for a long stretch of the 2013 season.

    But is that really enough? Is that what you want to accept at Missouri, given your long record of previous successes and national titles? What national titles, you ask? Shut up, we're asking the questions here.

    Oh my gawd look over there is that Nelly--

    [/runs into Gary Pinkel's recruiting helicopter, takes off without answering question]

    JD Clowney. This is also a lie you need to believe: you are ready for the post-bowl round of Draft slander and libel about to hit the players you held dear as a college football fan.

    You are prepared to call him JD, not Jadeveon, because that his hard to say and requires some spelling. You are ready to hear about how a player is not as talented as one thought, or better still how he is a locker room cancer. You will understand that this is in the name of lowering their Draft position and salary and that this is something that happens every year. You will deny that any of it is true, even if you suspect it is.

    Knowledge. What you'll drop on NFL-istas who need fake rumors about draft picks.

    • Johnny Manziel's left arm is fake. The real one is in Mexico and will be given back to him when he pays someone the money he owes them. He knows who.
    • That arm was his original throwing arm. He's just that good.
    • Teddy Bridgewater is a 47-year-old French beekeeper named Guillaume de Crecy. Please don't tell anyone.
    • Sammy Watkins only runs go routes, because his eyes are fixed in position like an owl's. He cannot turn without his whole head rotating.
    • Marqise Lee's parents spelled his first name that way because they anticipated you asking that question, NFL Draftnik. The answer to "Why?" Because the only thing missing is "u," NFL team. He then winks, as he has been taught to do from birth.

    Ligaments. It would have been nice to see Chuckie Keeton down the stretch in a desperate Utah State comeback attempt against Fresno State, but you don't get to see quarterbacks unmaimed and happy in 2013. This is not a lie: that would have been nice, and you didn't get to see it because every quarterback in 2013 was at one point injured badly.

    Meniscus. But no, no, there's no coincidence between teams finishing the season and doing well and the injuries to their skill players.

    Marcus Mariota was not hobbled down the stretch, Jeff Driskel's injury was not part of Florida's historic collapse this season, and Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson weren't both integral parts of Miami's game plans. Baylor losing Tevin Reese and two of their top running backs was not a part of their loss to Oklahoma State. On the opposite side of the argument, Florida State and Auburn received nothing like luck in keeping everyone healthy for the entire year, and randomness is not a part of football at all. Nope. Don't even consider it.

    Narduzzi. Also disregard the 24-game winning streak that ended in the Big Ten Championship Game and concluded Urban Meyer's ripping start to a tenure at Ohio State. It is easy to win 24 games without losing -- yes, even in the Big Ten -- and you should be disproportionately mad that it finally happened to you. The opposing team definitely wasn't plotting this back in April. Their defensive coordinator is not brilliant and definitely will not be getting a job somewhere else this offseason.

    Obviously. If your team won 10 games and did not win the national title, your season HAS BEEN A WASTE. You should not appreciate this at all. (CC: Clemson and Oklahoma fans, whom should not notice the streaks of 10-win seasons other fans most definitely would not steal your car in broad daylight to have.)

    Purposefully.Teddy Bridgewater knew exactly what he was doing here.

    Quipper. No, it's fine that Gary Danielson described a passing play that resulted in a touchdown for Mizzou as "cute," and that he continues to work in a psychotic fog when confronted with anything not resembling a 1988 NFL offense.

    Rice. A hallucination, since the Owls did not win their first title since 1957. Their quarterback in 1957 was also definitely NOT named "King Hill," which would've made him the most Texan man of all time.

    Sweep. As in "buck sweep," one of Gus Malzahn's easy-to-defeat, totally beatable high school run plays.

    You just saw how simple that is, so don't worry Florida State. You've got this. There is no way you'll have any problem with the Auburn offense, because they are running the ball. Just look at Missouri, which knew Auburn was going to run the ball up the middle with Tre Mason. They limited him to just 304 yards on 46 carries! This is a high school offense, and with all 46 of your surefire NFL Draft picks waiting for the Tigers on defense, surely you'll do better.

    (After all, Alabama only allowed 296 yards, and Clemson is basically the same school, but with a lake, right? BOOK YOUR TROPHY CEREMONY NOW.)

    Toddball. Todd Graham has not done a really good job with Arizona State this year. He will probably leave his job before David Shaw leaves Stanford. David Shaw will never go to the NFL and is in no way ever going to leave Stanford. It was also not weird at all for Stanford to lose twice this year, because Utah was the best five-win football team in the nation this year.

    Umbrage. You're overreacting, because there are many reasons to believe Will Muschamp will make a good hire at offensive coordinator for Florida. They are:




    It's gonna be fine. There is no reason to worry, Florida. None.

    VIZIO. You must include this as part of the title in the BCS Championship Game or you will burst into flames. You'll also remember this sponsor years from now, just like you'll treasure the awkward pregame moment when the CEO of [company we have already forgotten] makes a heartfelt thanks for your viewership. The money spent on these is totally worth every penny, and is an important part of the absolutely perfect bowl season experience.

    Walrus. Oh, that was not reviled offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, the godfather of Walrusball, leading the Michigan State Spartans into the Big Ten Championship against the team that fired him. He is very bad at his job, and this is all an accident.

    X Japan. A heavy metal band from Chiba, a prefecture in the Greater Tokyo Area that was never, ever within striking distance of a college football bowl game hosted in Tokyo. That bowl game did not have a promo, and that promo did not have the badass synth classic "Firecracker" by Y.M.O. playing behind it.

    This never happened, because no one would ever compromise the academic duties of a student-athlete by sending them on an international trip just to play football, ever.

    Yarberry. Milt, the first town marshal of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the home of the season's first bowl game. Yarberry owned a stake in a brothel, slept with his friends' wives, drank to excess, killed a few people, and was eventually hanged by the hand of his best friend. In other words: Milt Yarberry would definitely NOT have been a fine head football coach, and Albuquerque obviously does not have college football in its blood. (P.S. He would have been a total failure in the SEC in particular.)

    Zero. The number of points Stanford v. Michigan State won't have at the end of regulation in the Rose Bowl. This game will not be a perpetual grappling forever and will not be ended in a rare draw two days later when haggard coaches Shaw and Dantonio come to armistice terms at midfield.

    More from SB Nation college football:

    • Interactive bowl season calendar with picks and links to more coverage:


    What the Playoff would look like, from four to 32 teams

    College football news | FSU favored over Auburn by a touchdown

    Long CFB reads | The night Baylor died in Stillwater

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    THE ROLE OF THE INTERNET IS TO MAKE ALL INFORMATION EQUAL IN ACCESS AND EQUALLY SUBJECT TO SCRUTINY. There is no evidence Nick Saban is going to coach the Texas Longhorns next year, or indeed ever. He was reportedly in Kentucky yesterday recruiting, so none of the doctored photos of FlightPath information showing a plane traveling to Austin from Tuscaloosa make any sense. They make even less sense when you notice the number is Paul Bryant Jr.'s plane, and there is a photoshopped "Air Deloss" on the ownership information. (But sure, please, send us emails saying this isn't real. We love those.)

    This is nothing to be concerned about, and the following illustration makes no sense whatsoever.

    ROLL TIDE. (via)

    EVERY LAST DAMN BOWL GAME REVIEWED PICKED AND SCRUTINIZED FOR MAXIMUM SPECULATIVE CONTENT. Yes, we picked both Nebraska to beat Georgia and for Texas to upset Oregon. Why? Because it has been raining for like a week straight in Atlanta, three out of the four people in this house have had explosive diarrhea and/or vomiting, and we're feeling FUCKING DANGEROUS RIGHT NOW, okay? (Plus: what real confidence do you have in Oregon showing up in Mack Brown's last game, or protecting Mariota, at all?) We also ranked them all for entertainment purposes, and somehow put Michigan State/Stanford at three because everyone likes trench warfare.

    THE CLAWFENSE DARES TO BECOME THE RICHEST OFFENSE IN NORTH CAROLINA. The path to unlimited wealth runs through Wake Forest, and that path now runs straight to the feet of Dave Clawson. Remember, Dave: Jim Grobe finished his career making $38 million a year for just competing, so the kingdom can be yours for six wins and maybe a bowl game or two a decade.

    TODD MONKEN IS AN AWESOME DUDE. Southern Miss's head coach bought his seniors suits, which he can do because they've exhausted their eligibility, and also because he happens to be a really good dude.

    FREAK THE HELL OUT, RICE. Go fightin' Carbs, get you some celebration.

    PLEASE HAVE HIM CALL WILL MUSCHAMP AND OFFER HIM THE TEXAS JOB. Once the dude who offered Tony Dungy the USC job gets out of jail, of course.

    ETC: It's close, but I think Dilfer pulled out this battle rap. The new Morrissey memoir sounds like the most Morrissey thing since that time you walked down the street, noticed a poor person struggling in the wind, and refused to help them while bemoaning how a hangnail had ruined your entire day.

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    First, I'd like to thank the finest fans in America for supporting me. I always called the home crowd at DKR the taxman: you put in four quarters, and they showed up for two and left without saying thank you.

    I'd like to thank Bob Stoops for his rivalry over the years. He gave me six games, and I gave him nine, and that puts me three under on the day. If this is golf I'd be winning, Bob! But this is life, where I'll be getting paid more in a retirement year than you'll make in ten. When they ask you if dinosaurs were the devil's house pets, have fun realizing you gave your children Oklahoma educations on purpose. I hope Alabama knocks your butthole sideways and makes you shit pappardelle noodles.

    I'd like to thank Mike Gundy for his competition over the years. He's a fine young man who's chosen to spend his life in Stillwater riding out frack-quakes and bumping his head on a 10-2 ceiling. He won't regret that, or living in a mansion beneath a flaming natural gas vent.  You tell that atheist oncologist who believes in "science": It ain't a tumor if you've got the right attitude about it.

    (It is amazing what T. Boone Pickens has done with that program. He spent millions of dollars to win one meaningless Fiesta Bowl. West Virginia did the same thing with cup holder change and a copy of Lowrider Magazine, so you tell me which one's the hillbilly rube.)

    A letter of thanks will be sent to Lubbock. Without digital communication or phone lines, it should get there in one to two weeks, provided the horses don't freeze to death or get eaten by the Dust Creature of Abilene. They do an amazing job out there, mostly by simply keeping the players from being skeletonized by the horseflies. When that letter arrives they'll see how much I respect their sportsmanship over the years, provided they find someone to read it for them and recognize the petrified hand of Buddy Holly I'm returning to their possession. That belongs in a museum, Lubbock, but since I'm sending it to you just put it in the glass dessert case at Texas Roadhouse in the meantime. (P.S. Don't get it wet.)

    I can admit this now: I've missed the Texas A&M rivalry. It's not often you can find an opportunity to beat the hell out of another man in his own house without searching on Craigslist for hours. But I'm sincerely happy for your success Aggies. We always did have something in common, and that's losing games thanks to Case McCoy.

    To be honest, we only brought TCU into the conference so DeLoss and I could settle a bet on how Gary Patterson keeps his pants up. Turns out that's just body paint, so DeLoss won. I owe him a country now, so goodbye summer home. Belize. Whatever.

    Congratulations, Baylor. You finally managed to embrace Art that isn't in Reader's Digest or an Amy Grant cassette. Your big moment was removing a tarp, but that makes sense given that most of your graduates go on to work part-time tenting for termites. I'm sending a copy of The Golden Compass to all your kids to let them know that talking polar bears are real and God isn't. Hail to the Redskins.

    Iowa State! What can I say about you that hasn't been said about Iowa State?

    Y'all know Bill Snyder only takes juco transfers because he was born before the SAT was invented, right? That's the Sumerian Aptitude Test: catching a goat with your bare hands, looking in his eye to make sure he's not an Uttuku or evil demon/spirit, and then carrying him back to your house in under six hours while being chased by wolves. It's the same as the Kansas high school competency test, but then again Bill's always gone where he feels comfortable. That's why he sleeps in a giant urn of ancient honey each night, breathing through a reed from the banks of the Euphrates itself. Feel his amazingly soft skin, and you'll believe every word I just said.

    To hell with Nebraska. You pick up a pair of rescue dogs like the Pelinis and everyone in the kennel's gonna get worms. Frank Solich was too good for y'all. Oh, but Mack, Frank Solich really isn't that good, you say. Well. I just took you to the beach. You see the ocean for yourself when you're good and ready, sweetie.

    Oh, and to hell with Colorado. I don't remember much about you. Then again, neither do you on any given day, and that's what makes you special.

    The Kansas Jay-what? Can't say I'm familiar with his work, though I do still love that Beyonce. To hell with Missouri, too, though I appreciate how many graduates their fine journalism program has placed in TGI Friday's. Nothing like having your order taken in AP Style!

    And screw you media types, too. Whinin' about how Longhorn Network's a whole channel with only one football team but never saying a word about the Big Ten Network, which has zero. You complain about me blaming my assistants, but Greg Robinson was an improvement over Manny Diaz. I can't say anything worse about someone than that. You go on and try. I can't, and I watched Greg Robinson fight with a three ringed binder like it was a giant clam for fifteen minutes this morning.

    Finally, I'd like to close with a message to the fans, taken from a letter Charlotte Bronte sent to Emily Dickinson.

    (puts on reading glasses)

    (clears throat)

    "I got a ring and you don't, trick."

    Hook 'em,

    Mack Brown

    P.S. Dear god I'm so incredibly wealthy.

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    LET'S JUST SHOVE ASIDE MACK LIKE SO MANY CHUNKS OF COLD BRISKET. Before you get into the mania of tracking the financial decisions of Nick Saban--SPOILER! He's still going to be fucking wealthy at the end of this week!--pause and consider the case of the man reportedly being shunted aside at Texas, one William Mack Brown. Brown is in his sixteenth year at Texas, an insane number given turnover in 21st century coaching. He survived being Mr. February, losing to Oklahoma by ghastly margins numerous times, dropping some of the worst road losses one can possibly imagine (BYU this year, for instance,) and adroitly dodged the constant free-fire of Texas politics.

    Don't even think of him as a football coach, since that always seemed to be secondary to Mack's real talents as a gladhander, backslapper, and administrative bulldog for the program and its gargantuan, ever-growing bankroll. Think of him as what he is: a politician, and one who survived four Presidential terms, thirteen years of Rick Perry as governor, and countless challenges to the Longhorns' in-state supremacy. It's ending, like anything else, but admire the tenacity, longevity, and the ability to get Beyonce wearing his team's jersey. There are better coaches than Mack Brown out there. They didn't last sixteen years, or retire to an endless stream of fundraisers, large checks in their mailbox, and a mansion filled with an incalculable amount of rich, aromatic leather-covered furniture.

    RE: TENACITY. He may not be done yet, either.

    IT'S JUST SITTING THERE! ON HIS DESK! Which would be a huge story about Nick Saban if you didn't leave unsigned shit lingering on your desk for days, and if Nick Saban really cared about money, or understood what it meant. (Like Ms. Terry doesn't pick a zero to stop at, since Nick Saban probably doesn't carry his own wallet at this point.)

    MAMA POTATO CALLED. Bryan Harsin is the new coach at Boise State, leaving Arkansas State just one day shy of a full year into his tenure at the school. Arkansas State has a nice SNL thing going on, with their coaching alums becoming head coaches elsewhere after short stints in Jonesboro. They should roll with that, and create some kind of endowed chair for "Guest Coach" of the Red Wolves/Arkansas State Mobile Meth Lab Explosion. Coach for a year, get free tree stand, move on.

    DID YOU KNOW? You can add almost anything to the end of a URL and it still works.

    THIS IS A SLOW NEWS DAY/WEEK/LIFE BECAUSE: snowballs are a relevant and important topic today.

    ETC: Mexican Bieber covers make love real. This is a deeply accurate summary of a ten month old's brain.

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