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    Stop whoring for clicks, and listen to some facts. We DON'T know for sure that Dabo Swinney is going to be the next head coach at Alabama. We CAN'T say that he'll be the highest paid coach of all time at the college ranks with a $10 million salary; nor can we confirm that he and his family were shopping for a fresh Swinney-den, dug with Dabo's own scurrying hands, for the family to nest in as they move to Tuscaloosa. We're NOT saying Dabo Swinney is a rodent. We ARE saying he is a proud member of the family Mustelidae, a spectacular family of creatures that includes the possum/otter hybrid that is Dabo Swinney.

    (This is why he has to coach near water, which is why he'd be looking at spots near the Black Warrior River for convenient frisking and fishing.)

    Listen here to that, a discussion of the first flight of bowl games, and terrible Mike Leach imitations. Subscribe on iTunes under Podcasts/Sports/College, or just be a lazy bastard and hit play on the Soundcloud widget below.

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    BELK? Belk belk, belk belk belk belk. Belk: belk, belked.

    Belkingly? Belking belk. Belk belk, belkers.

    THAT SOLVES IT. Oh, a recruit said Nick Saban's staying well that's it case closed moving on nope there's no reason Saban wouldn't say that nope--

    PUNCH HIS ASS, DIRK KOETTER. Chris Petersen reiterates the "it was time" mantra about his departure from Boise to Washington, and is reminded that Dirk Koetter is supposed to punch him in the face for leaving Boise. Petersen says Koetter would likely pull the punch, and we think DIRK KOETTER OFF THE TOP ROPE OH MY GOD KING HE IS PUMMELING PETERSEN MERCY SOMEONE HAVE MERCY ON THIS POOR MAN--

    DIACONNECTICUT. The Notre Dame defensive coordinator gets the UConn job, meaning Houston Nutt to Arkansas State is SO CLOSE TO HAPPENING, Y'ALL.

    STUNNA CHRISTMAS. Happy holidays from Howard Schnellenberger, who lives on a plane of elegance and pure style you cannot even fathom, mortal. That is a silk shirt, and now you're naked. You're all naked and liking it.

    THAT'S A SERIOUS MISCOMMUNICATION. Baker Mayfield is the Big 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year thanks to his role in the burgeoning Kliff Kingsbury points machine out in Lubbock. Baker Mayfield is going to transfer from Texas Tech due to a "miscommunication" with staff over fellow QB Michael Brewer starting in the Red Raiders' bowl game. That's a hell of a miscommunication that ends up with your promising young quarterback transferring, but 18 year olds are weird anyway. (We almost transferred after our freshman year at Florida, but warrants and house arrest do limit your options.)

    WHO REALLY KNOWS WHAT ASPARAGUS IS? FSU's defensive coordinator doesn't know what it is, but if you think Will Muschamp isn't in the same boat then oh ho ho ho ho you would be oh so very wrong. "DON'T KNOW ABOUT ASPARAGUS. THAT LOOKS LIKE SOME KINDA ALIEN DICK. ALIEN DICK IS LIKE OFFENSE: IT DON'T HELP ME WIN GAMES."


    MEMPHIS FOOTBALL HAS THESE THINGS HAPPEN. The story of Memphis State (i.e. modern Memphis) coach Rex Dockery gets the big treatment at the C-A. It is paywalled, but is something you should know about anyway.

    ETC: Zach Randolph is one of our finest Americans. Yes, that is a fine t-shirt and we will take one. CHINA IS PERPETUALLY WILDIN' OUT AND CANNOT BE STOPPED.

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    The head coach of Texas is having the opposite of fun right now

    One moment from Thursday's Alamo Bowl press conference sums up how Mack Brown's 2013 football season seems to be going.

    On the upside: Nick Saban did not call into the press conference to ask about whether or not he would have to bring a new mini-fridge for the office in Austin.

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    You may be wondering just what in the hell is going on in Austin, and you are not alone. To say Texas politics is a savage game is cliché, but to deny the truth in that would be dumber than trying to put shit back in the bull. Will Muschamp would try doing just that, and that's one of a thousand reasons why he's not at Texas coaching football right now. (It's also a reason Will Muschamp is not allowed within fifty feet of livestock by court order. "THEY MESSIN' THE PLACE UP, THO!")

    It is a complex, vicious ecosystem, and requires some serious orientation for those unfamiliar with its inner workings, or just where the head coach of the Texas Longhorns sits in all this. Thankfully, we've made you a map to explain just how complex it is, and who the major parties determining the future of Texas football are. (Click to embiggen.)



    • A Horse Named Wealth is perhaps the most important party in all Texas politics. Killed Kennedy for sassin' him
    • Pedi-cab Guy is so much more important than you will ever know.
    • Paul Wall is from Houston and did not attend UT. However, he recruited every player out of Houston from 2003--2007, and fell out with Mack Brown after the Texas coach refused the gift of a free grill from Wall. Currently third-wealthiest man in Texas.
    • No one's sure exactly how Lance Armstrong's aqueduct manager is involved, but trust us: he is.
    • Robert Earl Keen is also mysteriously important in Austin, though no one's exactly sure how.
    • Of course Dan Rather is tied to organized crime. OF COURSE.

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    Spencer Hall responds to a very special offer from the Redskins, and ponders whether to buy a suite at FedEx Field or burn hundred dollar bills in an oil barrel.

    A very special offer came into the inbox of our parent company the day after the Redskins' franchise quarterback RGIII was benched, and in the week after a thirty-five point loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at home.

    I hope this email finds you well.

    It does. Most of us did not watch the Redskins play football this past weekend, so we're already doing great.

    The Redskins Suite Owners Network is looking to bring on companies that are ambitious about growth. Clearly, Vox Media, with your recent purchases of Eater and Curbed, would fit right in.

    This is correct: we are interested in growth. This is why we bought fine websites with our money, and not a lease on a giant expensive concrete box overlooking 120 yards of pure sorrow in the barrens of suburban Maryland.

    Think about how much easier, and effective, it would be to reach decision makers in the D.C. market if you entertained them at a Redskins game.

    "Yes, future investor and/or client. Please drive through zombie-apocalypse traffic, pay 40 dollars for parking, and then sit with us as we survey the ruins of a once-proud franchise. It's said the closest bonds are forged by mutual exposure to horror, and the survival of that horror. Ooh, look, Rex Grossman's coming in! Let's hold each other, cry, and see if the tears turn to money. There is stale popcorn and scotch in the back if it gets too much for you to bear."

    You’d enjoy personal face time and extend the depth of that relationship to a new level.
    Do you enjoy seeing handsome, elderly men broken in half?

    When neither party wants to see what is on the field, face time does take on a whole other meaning. Just four quarters of loving, longing staring into the client's eyes, and oh -- you want me to tell you that you have the luminous, inspiring eyes of a Kirk Cousins? I will tell you anything you want to hear, client. We must pay for this luxury box, and now need your money more than ever, especially because Mr. Snyder is doubling the price next year to pay for Tom Brady's contract. Do you enjoy seeing handsome, elderly men broken in half? You will. Um, something something business something.

    Put simply, leveraging an affiliation with the Washington Redskins helps grow your company’s profile, cultivate relationships, and get business done.

    "Leveraging an affiliation" is not putting anything simply. It's management/finance speak at its most inhuman. What you want to say is this: "By showing you can afford a Redskins suite, you display wealth and the confidence that others would think being at FedEx Field was a good decision, and that you were a person to make good decisions with in business." And what part of watching the Redskins over the past decade was a good idea, and displayed good judgment? This is a serious question asked in the face of a proposition that is flat barking insanity.

    Would you rather burn hundreds in an oil drum waiting for the Nats season to start?

    If you heard that a company had invested money in a Redskins suite after the 2013 season, would you take that as a.) a sound financial investment or b.) the work of account-bilking scam artists just seconds away from bailing on the stock options and dumping the whole mess on scattering shareholders? Would you rather burn hundreds in an oil drum waiting for the Nats season to start? We would, and baseball doesn't start for another four months. (At least burning money in an oil drum makes you warm, unlike the cold terror of watching Mike Shanahan dare his owner to fire him publicly.)

    Towards that end, I would like to begin a dialogue about what type of an association works best for you and your organization. In addition to learning more about your specific objectives, I would be glad to share with you a variety of examples from current Redskins partners to assist you in choosing an optimal solution.

    Our problem would be watching the Redskins play football. This is our optimal solution to the problem: not buying a suite, and thus avoiding the problem altogether. Thank you for this invigorating and completely unsolicited conversation, Redskins sales person. It's been a great dialogue after all. As for us, we'll be investing in the only luxury sports seats that matter: the front row at the Potomac Nationals, baby. P-NATS FOREVER.

    More from SB Nation NFL

    Expert picks for Week 15 | NFL Power Rankings: Broncos back on top

    Breaking Madden: Tony Gonzalez, cranky old man of destruction

    Russell Wilson can't stop getting drafted by pro sports teams

    Ex-NFL defensive end Stephen White on Vereen, Volunteers and more

    PFT Commenter's Week 14 Awards are E.L.I.T.E.

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    SOMETHING WILL DEFINITELY HAPPEN OR NOT HAPPEN TODAY. The Mack Brown Saga either ends or continues today, per Chip Blood of Orangebrowns.Cow. Whatever happens, Mack's lawyer is still Joe Jamail, Texas megabooster and the man who did this.

    Jamail’s buddies—singer Willie Nelson and former University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal—were in a white limo, begging him to go out for a drink or two. "I tried telling them that this was the biggest damn case of my life—hell, of anybody’s life—and that I needed to prepare," says Jamail. "But they weren’t having any part of it. They kept me up all fucking night drinking. I could barely see straight the next morning." Jamail did just fine...The result: On Nov. 20, 1985, a Texas jury returned a $10.53 billion verdict for Jamail’s client, Pennzoil Co., against Texaco Inc. It remains the largest verdict upheld on appeal in legal history. The case later settled for $3.3 billion. Jamail’s personal take topped $400 million, according to reports.

    Texas remains amazing in every way, and not just because Jamail once described a fellow attorney's depo skills as being so bad they could "knock a maggot off a meat wagon."

    HEY, WE GOT AN OFFER FROM A SPECIAL PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAM! very long way of saying no to a Redskins luxury suite.

    YOUNGSTOWN'S FINEST. Eleven Warriors posts the second part of their piece on the upcoming Mo Clarett documentary, and oh hey 2002 Snoop Dogg.

    YOU MAD, MAD PERSON, YOU. Holly previewed every bowl, presumably because Grantland has completely shredded her sanity. (Not that you need that, anyway.) READ IT MEMORIZE IT COMMIT IT TO A FULL-SIZED BACK TATTOO.

    TY HILDENBRANDT, UNCHAINED. It's always a good listen, but the Solid Verbal is at its best when Ty goes slightly bitchmaster on us.

    YES, BUT STILL READ IT. Bill C went to the SEC Championship Game and determined that Atlanta is the perfect place for the game in a lot of good and bad ways, because Atlanta is so disorganized we don't even succeed or fail in one decisive direction.

    ETC: Sure, go ahead and try not to watch the entirety of When We Were Kings today. When baseball agents fight they say things like "THIS IS HOW IT'S GONNA BE" and then slap each other. Sure, El Sonidito set to Rammstein works today.

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    Maryland's statue of its mascot, Testudo, caught fire. The rest is social media history.

    Testudo, the turtle mascot for the University of Maryland, has his own statue on the College Park campus. During finals, the statue serves as a place of good luck offerings for students hoping to do well on exams.

    No one is sure whether those offerings actually do anything to help the outcomes of those finals, but we now know one thing they can do: catch fire.

    Sometime past midnight Tuesday, Testudo was ablaze after those offerings caught fire, according to several witnesses who expressed their shock on social media.

    Pictures of Testudo ablaze were all over Twitter.

    As were images of his brave recovery.

    Nothing a Band-Aid and a Rockstar energy beverage can't fix, though some moisturizing lotion was donated to the cause, too. (In case Testudo's skin gets dry during recovery, of course.)

    The statue appears to be undamaged by the blaze, though there were some very NSFW losses that will never be recouped: some poor soul lost a perfectly decent sex toy to the blaze. (Like we said: very NSFW.)

    Maryland's police department reported the fire was an accident.

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    AAAHHHHHHH. Holy shit there are bowl games this weekend, something we forgot until we looked at the bowl schedule and said AAAAAAHHHHHH IS THERE REALLY A BOWL GAME WITH TULANE IN IT. Yes, yes there is, along with Washington State playing in a real, live bowl game (shut up the New Mexico Bowl counts) and what could be a rippin' Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between SDSU and Buffalo. You will watch it because you have no other choice because impending starvation means eating everything on your plate.

    HERE COMES COACH GODOT AGAIN. Like clockwork, every year, every time, and without fail, Coach Godot hints at appearing, and then leaves naught but existential despair in his wake.

    YOU. Wow, coach, I'm so flattered you wrote down a pronoun and signed it, especially when all we hear after seeing "YOU!" is the rest of "Gay Bar" by Electric Six.

    DAMMIT EAST LANSING IS A DESTINATION, HE SAID, LYING. Mark Dantonio says the MSU job is a destination, and if it is 2013 we are going to accept that he is right about this. Please imagine Mark Dantonio in a cowboy hat. Now please attempt to hold down your breakfast after laughing for several minutes straight.

    WHY MYLES JACK IS VERY GOOD AT HIS JOB. The Key Play looks at UCLA's 3-4 and explains to you why Jack will never, ever move to running back full time. (Spoiler: it is because he is an invaluable linebacker in UCLA's defensive scheme.)

    THAT'S A WASTE OF A PERFECTLY GOOD DILDO. Not everyone escaped the Great Testudo Fire of 2013 unharmed.

    ETC: The story of Derek Sheely is so damn sad. Someone in Chicago did this, and was never, ever caught, and shut up we're not talking about murder (this time.) The NFL is full of the bravest anonymous sources on the planet. The 69 Boyz always want to know what you want for Christmas.

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    Gonna miss Mack Brown, but finally he can get back to doing what he really loves: not coachin' football.

    I know some people think Missouri got stomped, but ask the Braves how hard it is to be a champion in Atlanta.

    Bobby Petrino's gonna be at Western Kentucky for a second year, so that time you got held back in elementary school don't look so bad now, does it?

    Tough year for injuries in the SEC East. Florida and Georgia both lost a ton of guys, and clearly Vandy fans were all home with the flu for months.

    It stinks that Teddy Bridgewater didn't get a Heisman invite, but airport security would have been the toughest defense he faced all year.

    Wonder if anyone's ever had sex on the Heisman? I don't, and neither does Johnny Manziel.

    Looking forward to Bob Stoops in the Sugar Bowl. It's like if Sisyphus had man-boobs.

    The biggest miracle Gus Malzahn pulled off this year is making Jay Jacobs look competent.

    Mark Dantonio says Michigan State is a destination, which is true if Destiny has a shitty ACT score and no connections.

    The former CEO of Zales went to A&M, so now you get why they're paying an 8-4 coach five million a year.

    The Iron Bowl isn't a real tax-exempt bowl game, so stop saying you were "born again" there, Auburn fans. You still gotta pay your taxes no matter what that crayon-illustrated passport you got there says.

    The Pac-12 was one hell of a Mexican standoff this year, so let's all be thankful it didn't get deported from Arizona.

    Speaking of Arizona, George O'Leary gets to fight a bear in the desert. He should win that fight, unless the bear agrees to go through one of George's workouts.

    Somewhere there's a car wash, and in that car wash is a Camaro. And it's goin' through the line, and there's Dave Wannstedt. He's pounding the glass goin', "NOT THE HOT WAX! IT'LL RUIN THE SHINE! HER SHINE, I TOLD YA!" And somewhere up at the register, Lane Kiffin's watchin' porn on his phone, and muttering about how he doesn't give a good goddamn about your car, Tom Selleck.

    Abortions are just barely legal in Alabama, meaning Lane Kiffin talking offense is still not a punishable offense in the state

    Fortunately for Michigan, Buffalo Wild Wings is Brady Hoke's second home.

    Traffic is a serious issue in California, but in event of a traffic jam FSU fans are more than used to sleeping in their own car, or even someone else's in a pinch.

    I'm gonna miss the Coaches Poll being relevant. It'll become our version of the House of Lords, and not just because Bill Snyder fought for Charlemagne.

    Gonna be expensive finding game tickets, but it's not like you spent that money on college, did you, Auburn graduates?

    "Do They Know It's Christmastime" is really about the Alabama coaching staff. (Spoiler: they don't.)

    Auburn-FSU is gonna tear apart more panhandle families than Maury Povich.

    The last time this many broke white people hit the road for Southern California Rose of Sharon ended up breastfeeding a hobo in a barn.

    You couldn't fit more white trash in a bowl by stuffing Death Valley to the brim with styrofoam.

    If you see a celebrity on the street, FSU fans, you should say hello. That's probably gonna be Scott Stapp for you. Be ready! He's gonna ask for money.

    "But I was paying my inner child support" ain't gonna convince the judge, y'all. But it will help you pay for game tickets, FSU fans.

    This is gonna be the first time most Auburn fans have seen roses outside of a conjugal visit.

    I recommend Auburn fans stay away from The Price Is Right, since they're guaranteed to overbid. $180,000 for a juco dinette set?

    California gets earthquakes, or as Auburn fans call 'em, "The Devil's takin' Zoomba Class."

    FSU fans, don't learn this the hard way: Jack in the Box is NOT an adult store with video booths.

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    GET LUCKY. The answer is: no, no one knows what the hell Steve Spurrier is doing here besides being so sexy it can only be captured on Vine. A seventh second of this would have started sex riots in any city where it is viewed, and disrupted American life to the point of societal breakdown.

    Sure, there's a GIF, too.

    JEREMY FOLEY IS WONDERING IF THAT REQUIRES A PASSPORT. Because, you see, Florida never leaves the state, ever, and also because that's the joke. We're leaving the state in 2017 to play Michigan at the Jerrah Dome, and it will take that long for Florida to get over their agoraphobia in order to make the trip. The good news: it will be a homecoming for head coach Todd Graham, who undoubtedly has family in Arlington, and Florida will be making six million bucks for their effort.

    LANE KIFFIN, FLORIDA OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, EVER CLOSER TO REALITY. Blake Anderson, one of the offensive coordinators listed as a possible replacement for Brent Pease at Florida, will instead wisely take the head coach position at Arkansas State because there are only so many chances to get head coaching experience, and also because he does not have a death wish. Hi, Lane. Let's just all get comfortable with this weird threesome between you, Will, and the Florida fanbase. Don't look in our eyes. That'll make it weird.

    FOR REFERENCE: Please remember that no one wants to leave a good-ass job for one where they will undoubtedly be fired.

    BLAME GOD. Or, uh, he has a plan for Arkansas football or something, even though there is nothing to suggest that a loving god has had anything to do with Arkansas football for quite a while (or ever, really.) There is the usual scary shit which we totally believe people told Bielema after and during this season, though:

    Q: Professional criticism is one thing. When it turns and flips onto personal level, as it did this season with (wife) Jen, how tough is that to handle?

    A: "The only thing I was concerned about her was just her safety. I mean, some people, when they claim they're going to kill you and your dogs and, you know, hope you die in a car crash and make malicious comments, that's ... People are today a little off.

    TRY THE CARNE ASADA. We appeared on Speak of the Devils to talk about Arizona State football, Todd Graham's skills that don't involve making people not like him, and found out that the carne asada and tacos are the way to go at Sun Devil tailgates.

    THE NCAA IS DOING NCAA THINGS. Like claiming in court that they have no legal duty to protect athletes.

    ETC: Well why wouldn't you put Popeye's on your list of the ten best meals EVERY year.

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    On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me

    12 Bud Heavys

    11 Bud Heavys

    Sure ten more Bud Heavys

    (They're like water, but they're heavy)

    Nine EZ Mart Hot Dogs

    Eight more Bud Heavys

    Seven wadded up hoodies (used for pillow)

    Six Monster Cuba-Limas

    (It's the energy drink that freed Cuba)

    (Way to go on that, Cuba)

    (writes complimentary letter to Cuba)


    Four random phone threats

    Three Bud Lights

    (Gotta keep it tight)

    A second loss to Rutgers

    And just one for the hay-ay-ay-terrrrrrrs

    [points to dick]

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    HOOOBOY. After the entire network was shot to pieces by flying internet orbital trash, this is probably definitely sort of working. If only there were some way to test it, since the performance will be half-assed, and probably cresting somewhere around "7-5ish" on the year. WAIT:

    Okay, ACC-themed Christmas Carols are probably just the thing to test spotty but improving site performance. At 3:35 there is a man singing a Ron-Cherry themed version of "The Little Drummer Boy." This is the part you should watch, because it involves the greatest referee of our time in a satirical form starting a song with "We have a call on the play." When Ron Cherry actually makes a call on the field next year starting with EXACTLY THIS WORDING, you'll know the man reads his own press and appreciates it.

    We'll try to continue posting, but it's going to be slow. In the meantime, we're accepting alternate Christmas song titles in the comments.

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    Christmas is supposed to be a time for relaxing and rejoicing with friends, family and good food. But for us? We'll be out back drinking beer on the back porch, taping scratchoff lottery tickets to some tchotchke we're re-gifting from the office party.

    Ratchet, as defined by the OED:

    Def: busted, bootleg, half-assed; incoherently planned, of the lowest possible grade of quality, and outlandishly shoddy; flaked, worn, repurposed poorly, and/or cheap and disingenuous either by design or necessity; varying by geography from ghetto to country; generally referring to a dysfunctional state

    This definition is not in the OED, and never will be because the OED is trash compared to Urban Dictionary. My Christmas will be a ratchet Christmas under the broadest possible definition of ratchet. It will be underfunded and poorly planned. It will not go well. It will embarrass you, and me, and anyone who participates in it, because Christmas, more than anything, is a referendum on your ability to be an organized, capable human.

    You are not an organized, capable human. You, and I, and millions of others will be having a ratchet Christmas.


    You will make none. Don't even get egg nog. Get custard, like, a week before, and drink it straight from the carton until you have just a drop or two left in the carton. Wait a few days, then spot it again when you open the fridge just to look at all the things you have in the fridge.

    Then wonder: does custard go bad? Recoil, and realize that you don't even really know what custard is, or how it's made, or whether you need to take it to a special disposal place like batteries or old appliances. Leave it in the fridge. Yell out "this house is contaminated please leave" and make your relatives go somewhere else. Duct tape your refrigerator shut, and begin a new life in a new city.




    If you decide to decorate your yard, take care to hit the sweet spot between cartoonish, sad, and macabre. The ideal ratchet christmas yard stocks as many inflatable cartoon holiday characters as possible, and then lets them deflate in the front yard for all to see. To the bystander, this should give the impression of discovering a mass suicide scene of inflatable snowmen, limp plastic reindeer, and at least one airless Santa staring forlornly at a winter sky. Do not feel bad for him: he's the cult leader, and started this entire horrible storyline.


    If it can come out of a box, good. If it can be served in the box, better. And if it was ordered from Domino's or another large American chain whose food is at least 30 percent packing glue and other non-food materials, best. Pizza may not be the first food you think of for Christmas, but they do deliver when you've forgotten everything else. Make the holiday extra heartwarming by refusing to tip the delivery driver, and then openly bragging about it to your family to make sure they admire your thrift.

    Those who do not bring food should interfere as clumsily as possible with the presentation of the food. I had one relative growing up who, unsolicited and unbidden, would drop a stick of butter in everything on the counter. I had another who would simply grab a hot plate and cook his own meals in an undershirt on the porch, partly because he didn't trust anyone else with the country ham, and partly because he wanted to be alone in his pajamas in thirty degree weather. I'd tell you about the other relative who just brought fresh Popeye's chicken, but this is actually a really, really good idea, and they don't deserve to be included in a list of holiday infamies.

    When all else fails, pour candy haphazardly in bowls. This must be terrible candy: generic gumdrops, ancient, chalky butter mints, or licorice hard enough to be used as buckshot.  Young children should be allowed to feed directly from them like dogs, and then released into rooms full of fragile, tacky figurines.

    P.S. Someone should be smoking furiously at all times indoors because this is their damn house, and your kids will just have to deal with it.


    If you bring wine, take it home with you no matter how little there is left in the bottle. This will be a bottle of white zinfandel, and it will be served on ice in solo cups, but that should go without saying.

    If you bring beer, it will come in one of two packages: 24 to a box, or in one enormous can or bottle. Again, it just feels so much more real to drink it outside in the cold alone, particularly if you smoke while you do it. Bud Ice is the most ratchet Christmas beer, though any beer of traditional Midwestern holiday blight will do if you drink more than twenty of them in a day. One Hamm's is sad, but thirty of them before midnight is practically its own stop-motion animation Christmas special.

    If you wish to bring liquor, consider the following brands: Glenmore Gin (plastic bottle with E-Z grip handle), E&J Brandy, Mr. Boston's vodka, Cruzan Pineapple Rum, Inver House Scotch ("the label looks like an alcoholic's wallpaper," per David Roth,) and any tequila that came from a grocery store brand.


    The best ratchet gifts come from uncles. They usually get them from the back of a gas station. If you have a Mapco nearby, go to the back for the best selection of possible ratchet-ass Christmas gifts.

    If you're feeling especially generous, pair with some scratchoffs.

    There is a knockoff Barbie back there. Her proportions are off, even for a Barbie. She is either suffering from a tapeworm or hydrocephaly, and a poorly stamped face made by a sleep-deprived Chinese laborer gives the impression of a powerful, sudden onset of a stroke. It is literally the worst vision of adult womanhood you could give a young girl, a tiny mutant Tara Reid created on a planet with irregular gravity and horrible notions of what femininity means. It is what you're going to give a young female relative.

    If you're feeling especially generous, pair with some scratchoffs.

    Boys are easier. My dead uncle gave me Aramis cologne for Christmas once, and he was one of the most ratchet people I ever knew. He would ask you things about "the number of negroes" at your high school, and remind you he was in Mensa. If anyone ever tells you they were in Mensa, just remember that my uncle was, too. I'm saying that Mensa members are full of shit, and that cologne is a terrible gift as long as you pay less than fifteen dollars a bottle for it.

    You also can't go wrong with knives for young boys, particularly the scary ones designed for trucker self-defense they sell at large, brilliantly-lit gas meccas of the American roadway. If that fails, grab a pair of wiper blades for them. Even if they don't need them, they can probably return them for a car part an eight year old would really treasure, like a set of Yosemite Sam floormats.


    That assumes you remember to give gifts at all. The real key to a Ratchet Christmas is forgetting to give any gifts at all, something I did for like eight years straight in my twenties. I would simply exist as I normally do, showing up to work and then home, and then one day someone would say "Oh, it's Christmas."

    "Oh, it's Christmas" means doing nothing everyone else presumably did leading up to that moment: buying gifts, sending cards, purchasing special outfits for the moment, and carefully considering holiday meals. It means finding someone else with a gift for your mother -- most likely a responsible sibling -- and writing your name on the tag.


    Your mom noticed, but she understands. She doesn't forgive, mind you. But she understands.

    Other suggested gift ideas for those who forgot it was Christmas:

    • Gift cards. Best if mismatched by interest or availability, like sending your relatives in Wisconsin gift cards from your local pool supply store in Florida
    • A picture of yourself. No returns, no possible commentary, and zero utility whatsoever
    • Half a sub sandwich
    • An open bottle of liquor
    • A Gangnam Style t-shirt
    • Specialty equipment purchased from a store that doesn't specialize in said equipment, like a tennis racquet from Walgreens or a CPAP machine from Payless
    • Stolen hotel toiletries
    • Yankee Candle anything
    • A donation in your name to the gift giver's church (bonus points if gift giver is the pastor of that church)
    • The free gift you got at the register for buying something else


    This is Ratchet Christmas. You will have to fight someone, probably over an insult to your children, or more likely because you insulted someone's children, or because you disagree on important issues like whether Phil Robertson is wrong or right about man-butt. You can do a lot of things to make it the ratchetiest Ratchet Christmas of all, but nothing beats the topper of having to drive four hours back home because you punched someone over Jesus.

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  • 12/26/13--08:00: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 12/26/13

    DAWWWW. That's adorable, Georgia. Stop doing adorable things to not be a hated rival.

    ROPER, OFFICIAL. After three years of attempting to run the ninth-best offense in the 1984 SEC while shitting on "look-back offenses" and the hurry-up, Will Muschamp has hired a coach who does a lot of that. Alligator Army has the full breakdown, and we hope Roper got a fat three year deal that will be paid in full when Will Muschamp is fired sometime in November of 2014. This ain't his fault, and you can't blame a man for taking an opportunity, a large paycheck, and a way out of Duke and into the SEC.

    MARK DANTONIO INTERRUPTS HIS HOLIDAY TO GIVE YOU A GIFT. It's a suspension for a bowl game! Happy holidays, man.

    LES MILES, TOO, FEELS SOME TYPE OF WAY. Coaches got all kinds of things for the holiday, including yoga classes for Bo Pelini. Imagine him with the sad little rubber mat burrito under his arm, walking into the class, and then struggling to hold in a fart during downward dog. Imagine Carl attending a class with him, and being asked to leave for ogling female class members. Imagine all of this, because "Yoga with the Pelinis" could be the best reality show the Big Ten will never make, and that is a damn shame.

    CAUSALITY IS HARD. This is not a link to a Gregg Easterbrook piece because we would never link you to horrible things that were wrong about everything including football. It's a link to a Texas HS football blog debunking everything in the article, and provides no pageviews to a glib, football-ignorant, moralizing anti-semite.

    LIVE FROM BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN DETROIT. It should actually be an exciting game, and not just because Robocop could run through the field screaming HALT, CITIZEN at any point.

    ETC. Ahahahahahah sure.

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    DAVID CUTCLIFFE'S HEAD IS THE WEIRDEST. Just look at its extreme angularity.

    If you think you've seen it before, it is because you have.

    BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE: The bowl calendar rolls on with three games today: the Grumman Military Bowl, The Texas Bowl, and the Fight Hunger Bowl. No, really, they put all three of those on one day, and dared you to watch. AND YOU'RE NOT A PUSSY SO YOU'LL DO IT, RIGHT?

    HAIL PITT.They won, and that's the good news. The bad news: Spilly is probably preparing a victory feast, and thus reducing the Pittsburgh area to a biohazard area unfit for man, beast, or unmutated microbe.

    ENDINGS ARE ALWAYS BAD AND DO NOT FORGET THIS. Jordan Lynch's finale in the Poinsettia Bowl was ugly, but don't let it ruin what was an amazing college career. Also, Utah State is very mean and likes to hurt people on football fields.

    SYRACUSE HAPPENS TO BE A CHARITABLE, SUPERB FANBASE. TNIAAM is sending 1,400 kids to watch Syracuse play Minnesota in the Texas Bowl, which to be fair should be a good game, and is not a form of child cruelty masquerading as charity. Excellent work by all.

    WITH SO LITTLE PIZZA IN THE BOX YOU SEE/ IT'S KINDA HARD TRYNTA BE THE PIMP LCB. Yes, they did run out of Little Caesar's Pizza at the Little Caesar's Bowl last night.

    BE CONFIDENT BE CONFIDENT BE CONFIDENT. Jake Spavital needs swag, confidence, and basically just have enormous balls all the time because you are Kevin Sumlin's assistant, and the Sumlin administration is based on being as insanely aggressive at all times as possible.


    That helps, too.

    MISS U, CHIP. "Fuckin' score points. What's your plan?" Please stop being successful in the NFL, Chip Kelly, because Florida 2015 needs you.

    HATIN' ASS SPURRIER IS REAL, VOLUME 3,409. From Pat Dooley's piece about Florida hiring a Duke offensive coordinator:

    "The last time Florida hired the offensive coordinator at Duke was 24 years ago," Steve Spurrier said. "You tell the new guy he has to score in the first two minutes of the first game like we did."

    And if you don't, well, you must not be as good a coach as the Ol' Ball Coach. Happy Holidays from Steve Spurrier.

    ETC: The giant inflatable penis sticking out of a window in the first two minutes really is just a warm-up here.

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  • 12/31/13--09:46: NOTES FROM THE HOLIDAY BOWL

    The 2013 Holiday Bowl kicked off at 10:15 p.m ET last night. It would not end until nearly two in the morning. This is the journal of two miserable souls who watched the entire thing right down to the last Todd Graham-flavored drop.*

    *Do not consume Todd Graham in liquid or solid form, ever.

    [Texas Tech roars out to an early lead]


    CHT: "Todd Graham, house flipper" is the most accurate description of anything, ever.

    SH: That man screams dodgy real estate and freshly planted Japanese maples in the front yard.

    CHT: "Inspections take forever, but hey--look at that pool!"

    [Arizona State goes on 45 play, 38 minute drive to end the first half, and arrives at the goal line dehydrated, lost, and suffering from the symptoms of exposure and exhaustion.]

    SH: They're not getting shit out of this drive.

    CHT: Nope.

    SH: Look at them. Their body language is done.

    CHT: This is the dumbest goal line sequence ever

    [Arizona State flounders, settles on a horrendous rushed field goal that they miss, pretty much accepts loss of game at this point]

    CHT: Why the fuck didn't you spike it you dumb shit.

    SH: Seriously watch the players right now. They're like, "That guy? Fuck that guy. Fuck that guy so hard."

    CHT: God, he's such a dick. I can't wait for him to flame out spectacularly at Florida.

    SH: no

    CHT: Oh accept it. Accept it. Accept it. :)

    SH: GOD FUCKING DAMMIT. Here, hit this. No, it's cool, hit it. You'll be fine.

    CHT: (Nothing is real)

    SH: (You'll pass out before you die)

    CHT: (kill your parents)

    [Halftime. Arizona State scores, Texas Tech answers, and the game farts along and the Sun Devils get more and more hopeless.]

    SH: The best part about Todd Graham is that the headset is the hook you can hang your dislike of him on. Other dudes might just wear that with no issues, but on him it's like a crack in in the foundation you can just pour termites into.

    CHT: ahahahaha

    SH: "Go get that bastard you little geniuses"

    CHT: Oh god i just figured out what that's about: HE DOESN'T WANT TO FUCK UP HIS HAIR.

    SH: Or he's sensitive about having a fat face.


    SH: Because he's got EWAQ syndrome: Ever Widening Aidan Quinn. Gain ten pounds, eight of it goes to his fat face. So the little headset? It's slimming. Like pleated pants for the face.

    CHT: A male beauty mark.

    SH: It's like a red flag that you're really thinking hard about looking like you're not thinking about your creeping bloat--oh god it's more house flipping. NOPE THIS COACH AIN'T FAT LOOKA THAT DAINTY LIL MIKE ON MAH FACE.

    [The Texas Tech Raiders would go on to win 37-23.]

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    College football's money-printing postseason will soon have a new name and a new format. But let's pretend the last official week of the Bowl Championship Series is also the birth of something new.

    You're dead now, BCS, so this entire conversation is a little strange and one-sided. You can't answer for a lot of things you could be accused of creating.

    But that's how eulogies work. As you were in your brief existence, they are unfair by design.

    I can say, "Oh, you started a culture of endless politicking built on polling fictions," but that's not entirely fair. Before you came along, we just guessed which the best teams were. We didn't even do what you did, which is to run a one-game, one-off, live football simulation for money.

    You were, above whatever else we may say about you, a more formal variation of insane, random guesswork, one involving small sample sizes and extremely random variables. That is probably your greatest, most lasting legacy.

    It's still easy to say what you were trying to do: put the two best teams in college football on the same field, to crown the winner of that matchup the champion of the sport. Whether you did that or not depends on the year and on whose teams were the ones picking up conciliatory paychecks in the Fiesta Bowl while two other teams fought it out in the title game.

    You made some messes. 2004 was a debacle, a three-way push between Auburn, USC, and Oklahoma that ended with a lopsided zoo fire of a title matchup between the Trojans and the Sooners. The bouncers in 2007 got sleepy and let in a two-loss LSU team that, because Les Miles is an ancient Sumerian demon-god, naturally won the whole thing once it conned its way in the door. The less said about what LSU did to end 2011 against Alabama, the better.*

    * Did you read this far down this page? Congratulations, you have already equaled the Tigers' offensive performance in that game.

    There were even worse years, though.

    You made average football games and sold them at a premium, a superb business strategy.

    Ohio State made two title games it probably should not have, losing both badly and setting back the national perception of the Big Ten in previously unimaginable ways. (That's also unfair, but it's also accurate.) The 2012 BCS spat out Notre Dame versus Alabama in a bloodbath that was over in 15 minutes flat, while Alabama's 2009 matchup against Texas remains one of the more deceptive final scores in the BCS' short and unspectacular history. Oklahoma's 21-14 loss to LSU in 2003 might be the most lopsided 21-14 football game ever, though Oklahoma achieved getting 14 points off only 154 total yards of offense. Nick Saban won four BCS titles as a head coach, and every single one of them was a complete atrocity in its own way.

    You were a terrible matchmaker, for the most part, and someone who watched every single one of those games would probably agree. In 16 years, the chosen mechanism for selecting the two best teams in college football produced one undisputed classic: the 2005-ending USC-Texas game. The rest are either debatable at best, outright blowouts, or exercises in curious tedium like 2000's Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2.

    You made average football games and sold them at a premium. This made you a dishonest way to end a football season. But you had a superb business strategy.

    It's also unfair to say you ever got it totally right, or that you even cared too much about getting it totally right.

    You operated mostly on polls, and those polls were created by people. To be honest, they were not made by particularly bright people, or at least by people who can be bright about everything all the time.

    You asked the coaches to vote on the best teams in college football while they were working 80-plus-hour weeks and facing a dozen or so teams out of more than a hundred a year. You asked writers to know not just a conference, but every team. Some of these things were stupid, and some of them were impossible. Some were both, and that's a kind of accomplishment no matter what anyone says.

    You also embraced technology, or at least "computers." I say "computers" with big finger quotes, since one of the important computer pollsters for the BCS described himself with the following words:

    "I’m not a mathematician," Billingsley said. "I’m not even a highly educated man, to tell you the truth. I don’t even have a degree. I have a high school education. I never had calculus. I don’t even remember much about algebra. I think everyone questions everything I do. Why is he doing that? Does he know what he’s doing, a crazy kook in Oklahoma?"

    Like we said: COMPUTERS. [whooshing noises]

    And sometimes those people and computers involved in making the BCS work couldn't make a right decision, mostly because there wasn't one to be made.

    Why did we have to choose between Auburn, USC, and Oklahoma in 2004? Every other sport on the planet knows endings are hard to write, and that's why they use the writer's oldest crutch: the battle royale, in which you throw every character into a playoff and see who's left standing at the end. You were a terrible writer, BCS, with plot holes too big to hide or ignore. You had no will to take even the laziest shortcut.

    You did have your moments. Most things do, if only by accident.

    Michael Vick played the most insane three quarters of individual football I have ever seen, against Florida State in 1999. (Go watch it: it's as good as you remember, and done against the speediest team of the era.)

    Ohio State constipated a loaded Miami team into a double-overtime title loss on a pass-interference call, which still boggles the imagination. (Skip Willis McGahee's knee injury on the rewatch. You don't want to see that ever again, and you didn't even the first time.)

    Nothing can tarnish USC-Texas, and nothing ever should. It is still the best start-to-finish football game I have ever watched and was only approached by the 2013 Iron Bowl. (Which I need some time on, since it's hard to remember anything but the last three minutes or so, while I remember whole chunks of Vince Young's masterpiece.)

    It was still football, and more of it. Did anyone forget the other bowls? The BCS in its memorial can claim those, too.

    It can rightfully claim Boise State beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Young's first rampage through the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2005 against Michigan, and Illinois making not one, but two BCS Bowls. That Illinois thing happened in this lifetime, and there is film of it and and witnesses and everything.

    Illinois would lose both of those games. The Illini still have fewer losses in BCS bowls than Notre Dame, though, the team without a conference that crafted a special inclusion into the BCS designed simply around the virtue of being the most relevant football team of 1972. The Irish lost all four of their appearances in the BCS by a combined score of 158-57. The BCS did some good things, and this streak is perhaps the most persuasive point in its defense.

    Most importantly, you made everyone more money, BCS. The first year was 1998, when Kirk Ferentz was hired at Iowa for a salary somewhere in the range of $500,000 a year. In 2013, Kirk Ferentz earned $3.9 million to coach the same program, and his starting salary in 1998 would approximate one of Nick Saban's championship bonuses. The BCS is not solely responsible for that inflow of money, but it is one of the reasons for college football's decade-and-a-half long climb into a warm, relaxing lap pool of television cash.

    You were a sellable good, BCS. District managers of the world respect that part of your epitaph: no one can ever take away your sales figures.

    Finally, we said you were dead, and by name you are. But there's reason to think you faked your death, that the new College Football Playoff is merely an expanded BCS, the same old ramshackle college football trailer with a few rooms hammered haphazardly onto it and a new paint job. That's a distasteful thing to say at a funeral, but it's not like they even tried to hide it all that well.

    This funeral is a lie, right down to the empty coffin. When you are nouveau riche like college football is, every step into the future is a burial of the last address, even if you just changed the stationery and a few titles. The BCS barely existed all along, less an original concept than a repackaging of existing goods. It then simply tweaked a detail or two on the birth certificate to move on to more money under a new name in a new town.

    If this pisses you off, please forward all complaints -- and unvalidated parking vouchers from today's service -- to the new College Football Playoff. It will deny everything, but that's the best part of the joke.

    More from SB Nation college football:

    Bowl season TV schedule, with scores and recaps along the way

    Bill O’Brien reportedly leaving Penn State for the NFL

    Modern Hate: Four huge, behind-the-scenes stories on college football rivalries

    College football news | Tons of five-star recruiting updates

    Long CFB reads | The death of a college football player

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  • 01/03/14--07:40: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 1/3/2013


    As Bill C puts it, Feisty Bob really is the best Bob, especially when his defense sacks A.J. McCarron seven times, picks up turnovers, and Trevor Knight morphs into the second coming of Johnny Manziel. Oklahoma became the second team in as many days to win an upset in which they were at least two TD underdogs, following the example of UCF, and proving that 2014 is already trending to be a year for cranky old bastards like Bob Stoops and George O'Leary. There will be scotch, some light fishing, and maybe a few diatribes about that shithead down the street who won't stop using his damn lawn as a parking lot for his pickup trucks. Ruining the real estate values for the whole damn neighborhood, that bastard is.

    ALSO ON SCENE: Brian Phillips was there, watching Nick Saban fall asleep in his barcalounger.


    It's a kind of Big 12 solidarity, at least. And maybe Case was laughing at what we were laughing at: Derrick Henry, who had eight carries for one hundred yards and a single reception for 61 yards and a TD, only getting eight carries while the Alabama offensive line cartwheeled backward against the OU pass rush. Alabama's great strength has always been sticking to the gameplan no matter the situation--like, even during snacktime, 3:15 p.m. Central Time, some random Thursday n the offseason--but that's also one of their few weaknesses. You have a dude NO ONE wants a part of just sitting there while A.J. McCarron is getting slaughtered, but that's what happens when you're overly loyal to the plan, and your opponent just happens to have a much, much better one.

    IT WAS ALWAYS TEMPORARY. The best possible Bill O'Brien coping strategy comes from Slow States, who gets downright Taoist about it. (Maybe play this behind it for maximum effect.)

    ERRRRRNGE BURRRRRLLLLL PREVIEWS. Eleven Warriors has it as a coin flip between two teams with little time for defense, which, yeah. Bill C has field position and the Ohio State run game as the key factors in a likely Buckeye victory, and Shakin' the Southland describes the Ohio State defense as "poor," which is also very accurate. LGHL is painfully honest in noting that Ohio State is 2-9 in bowl games in the state of Florida, meaning that they still adhere to Woody Hayes refusal to take anti-malarials "because germs are a lie."

    ETC: Don't ever fall off the back of a lobster boat.

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    1. Tajh Boyd "big fella" is the polite way to point out that he, at like 9 percent body fat, is considered morbidly obese by quarterback standards.

    2. Ohio State Superfans probably means "Buck-I-Guy," but could just as likely mean "Buckeye Boy," "Buckeye Girl," "Buckeye Debtor's Prisoner," "Buckeye Guildenstern," "Buckeye Not Allowed Within Five Hundred Feet of a School," "Buckeye Hound, the Dog We Smuggled In Because It's Miami and We Could," and "Buckeye Sapurmurat Niyazov."

    3. "Speed option called to the boundary" is the worst imaginable thing in football and with two spread teams it is TOTALLY HAPPENING.

    4. Man, fuck that Nissan ad.

    5. Two squares for punching: the historical, Charlie Bauman/Woody Hayes sort, and the tribute punching that could result between two teams angry their seasons didn't pan out the way they wanted. Especially Clemson. And now it's time to watch this again:

    6. Buckeyes have been passing a stomach flu around, which is actually good preparation for the assault on the immune system that is Miami. Don't let them tell you any different.

    7. Lebron means any mention, appearance, or reference to James. There will be multiple, and they will be connected to Ohio.

    8. What the fuck is a Dierks Bentley and does he sing about trucks/girls/moonlight/alcohol? (Answer: yes.) BRING BACK ASHLEE SIMPSON DAMMIT.

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    1. This is not beautiful. It's not. It's Southern California, and it's about 60 degrees or so and brilliantly sunny, and this is not what anyone wants at all. No, no, no, stop, we're being quite serious. Football is a game that should be endured, not pleasantly observed in temperatures that coddle human beings like cruelty-free eggs. It should be witnessed in grim concrete canyons stuffed with bundled penguin-beings who earn that view of a game-winning field goal, and not sitting in full sight of the San Gabriel Mountains, crackling ever-so-slightly with the glow of a sun indistinguishable from a loving, all-embracing god. Nope. That's not what football should be at all, and sunshine is bad and degrades your character. Brr. Grr.

    2. Florida State really hasn't played anyone. No, they really haven't, and you can just keep repeating that to yourself as you scan quarter after quarter of pure slaughter. We just finished Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic miler who suffered a plane crash, survived for 47 days at sea, and then started the real fun: almost two years of constant beating and starvation at the hands of the Japanese. The most savage of his tormentors was Mutsuhiro Watanabe, aka "the Bird," who spent the better part of 16 hour days delivering near-constant beatings with unwavering intensity. This was against starved competition, sure, and with the overwhelming force of armed guards behind him, but sure, you'd want to mess with him. Even with the weakened schedule, you still want to mess with the dude who does nothing all day but hit the room screaming NANDA! NANDA! before leveling everything in sight. You're just itching to get to that terrifying, blood-caked maniac who totally hasn't played anyone.

    3. Auburn is a team of destiny, and not of skill. There is not reason to believe FSU's undersized linebackers will have any problems with Auburn's interior run game, because they most definitely did not dismantle the best defensive line in the SEC against Mizzou in the SEC Championship Game, and will not use arc blocks and whatever other smart-primitive weirdness Gus Malzahn will find buried in the football fossil record, unearth and clone, and unleash on the FSU defense. There is no reason to suspect Nick Marshall will be able to make a single pass on FSU, even though he's been asked to make like nine passes a game at most, and has done well enough on those nine opportunities a game. This is not the closest thing to the Oklahoma wishbone under Switzer to be found in modern football, and Florida State will have no problems with it thanks to the 450 NFL draft picks currently residing on their defensive depth chart.

    4. You can't do a podcast in a hot tub.

    5. You have a number that predicts all of this. Auburn stands a good chance of winning thanks to the four other BCS games all going to the underdog--in some cases the massively overmatched underdog, according to the numbers--and that this number matters. There is also almost every other number, which favors FSU, the most efficiently brutal team in the nation in a thousand categories. You can run to the number you like. In the light of uncertainty, they're all just fine until annihilated by reality.

    6. The Rose Bowl is not the perfect college football finale. Nope. Not at all. Stop. You're wrong, and not hearing Keith Jackson's baritone on the brain every time you look at it.

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