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    A season and an era ended in Pasadena, and to be there is to welcome the feeling.

    To get to the end of the BCS, and to the title game and the end of the 2014 football season, college football had to first squeeze its surly, disorganized self through the eye of the Rose Bowl.

    To do this, it had to get through the stadium's tunnels, guarded by men and women holding placards reading THIS TUNNEL IS FULL PLEASE WAIT. There is a "please" there: you should know how polite the Rose Bowl is. You should know exactly how many security guards and other newly deputized warm bodies moving in the name of public order there are. Your parking pass is checked five separate times on the way into the stadium. Your bags are checked twice, and thoroughly, by people who do respectable rummaging.

    Getting to the press box requires a passage through four different inspections of your laminated press pass and one electronic scan of the badge. This is done by smiling, polite people in jackets who are everywhere. They stand in matched pairs by the escalators, eying badges, medallions, and the various cardboard permissions dangling around the necks of passersby.

    Getting into the Rose Bowl requires a slow digestion through the bowels of officialdom, but getting to the Rose Bowl only requires that you ransack a golf course. Pasadena is a beautiful place where nothing is supposed to happen, and yet here they were. Florida State bros in fitted caps and Jameis Winston jerseys split a 12-pack of Bud Platinum on the edge of a water hazard. Men in orange Auburn fishing shirts stomped through the margins of the bunkers, parked their trucks and rental cars on the cart paths, and set up camp along the shaggy edges of trampled fairways.

    For some reason, some parents brought sun-blasted, snoozy, face-painted children along. They were asleep on shoulders or drowsing with bare legs jutting out from strollers and rammed through crowds of circling fans, all eddying around the shape of the Rose Bowl.


    The Rose Bowl can be finicky, but most of that persnicketiness is obliterated by the thing itself: the trees on the edge of the stands, the San Gabriel Mountains behind them, and the shock blue of the sky streaked with wispy cirrus clouds blown to bits by winds flying off the Pacific Coast.

    From the eye of the cameras mounted in the press box, it is a perfectly composed postcard trampled by a football game. From the field cameras, every shot is framed by the curve of the stadium and bathed in the bright, velvety light of Los Angeles, which is a very real and persistently beautiful thing.

    A vulture in a tracksuit could take a handsome portrait in the stands of the Rose Bowl.

    You don't want to believe it, but it is annoyingly true. A vulture in a tracksuit could take a handsome portrait in the stands of the Rose Bowl.

    So if from a certain point of view, from a certain spot on a third turn around the stadium, staring at little more than the impossibly beautiful shade of blue of the sky, you got a little ... overwhelmed? By the moment, or the fragility of the moment, or maybe just from sleep deprivation and the way the sunlight died a little, how it gave way to darkness shot through by the blazing crackle of the stadium lights? That you were there, trying to be critical, when suddenly you got the urge to take your shoes off and just walk barefoot for a minute on the turf?

    It would happen there, with a shit-eating grin on your face. You would be thinking the very silly thought that if you were to die here, in 68 degrees and with the promise of a football game to come, that would not be the worst thing in the world.

    You would have missed certain things by dying before the game.

    You would have missed Auburn taking the field and obliterating any pretense of a blowout in the first half, knocking a frantic Winston out of sync by using disguised coverages and harrying Florida State into a flat spin to start the game. The Seminoles blew things they hadn't blown all year. They abandoned the run in a panic. They forced Winston to spray the ball like a malfunctioning sprinkler to receivers who, after a full year of catching everything thrown to them, developed an allergy to completions.

    You would have missed Gus Malzahn on a playcalling streak of such ferocity that even his mistakes looked like the outline of sinister design. At one point, after a Nick Marshall pass that landed incomplete 10 yards from his receiver, I leaned over and said, "That's not what he wanted to do on that play." The man next to me said, "Nah, even that's setting something up." That's how far into Florida State's head Malzahn was at one point: he was gaslighting the Seminoles into rapid onset derangement with a quarterback who had been a defensive back at Georgia two years earlier. His team was throttling the Heisman Trophy winner with a defense that nearly lost a game to Washington State to start the year.

    You would have missed the moment when Gus Malzahn took the SEC's worst team not named Kentucky and almost won a national championship.

    You also would have missed the FSU band doing a James Bond halftime show and playing "Skyfall." You would have missed hearing the opening words in your head: Thiiiiiiiiiis is the end.

    For years leading up to 2013, Florida State was back, then suddenly was not. A horde of four- and five-star recruits became three-star teams capable of implosion against the most random competition: NC State, Virginia, and other lesser denizens of the ACC. The Seminoles played as a menagerie of incendiary talents occasionally guest-starring as a unified squad, and at other times simply loitering as individuals in televised random pursuit of a football.

    This was the end. Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield returned a kick, and words are inadequate, because words do not really describe how gone Whitfield was at his own eight-yard line. Geometries collapsed, pursuit angles melted, and Whitfield was in the open. He was fleet, untouched, and blistering toward the end zone.

    I once watched a F-14 over a golf course in Destin, Florida hit the afterburners early, break the sound barrier over land, and scream out to the Gulf of Mexico on a vector of pure reckless glee. That was Kermit Whitfield's kickoff return.

    The end is where the math piles up in every sense. For Auburn, the math meant running so many plays that Tre Mason would eventually slip a tackle and bound into the endzone with 1:19 on the clock. Mason, falling forward and over defenders, riding the rolling wave of his own tumbling linemen, and scooting under tacklers all night, finally broke a long run at the best of all possible moments for Auburn.

    In other words: a 2013 Auburn thing happened, again.

    The end, though, also meant the tallying of sums for FSU. The recruiting of speed, pure, terrifying speed like Rashad Greene, who slipped through a hole in the Auburn secondary for 47 yards. An offensive line that in 2011 allowed 41 sacks and had given up four on the night held Auburn at bay for one long drive. The end was a well-scouted hole in the Auburn goal line defense: between the hashes, three yards deep into the endzone. Goalpost-sized human Kelvin Benjamin found a Jameis Winston pass 10 feet or so above the grass in that spot.

    The end arrived. Numbers were tallied. After four years of building to this moment, Florida State had reached critical mass some time in the fourth quarter of the final BCS Championship. It achieved full escape velocity at the last and best possible moment.


    If something as big as Benjamin made a sound coming down with the game-winning touchdown made a sound, I didn't hear it. A camera truck barreled its way around the corner of that end zone, the same end zone Vince Young ran into for the winning score in the 2006 BCS Championship against USC. Security guards in yellow windbreakers herded reporters, cameramen, randoms, and VIPs into a thin margin of turf along the sideline.

    Cheers exploded behind me from the FSU section. Something like a loud silence dropped from the Auburn sections, a kind of noise-canceling atmospheric sorrow you sometimes hear and simultaneously don't hear when something very, very unfortunate happens to a mass of football fans. It is a sucking of wind into the lungs, a collective extended gasp.

    Must Reads

    A crew of extremely uncertain security people cordoned off the middle of the field with a rope. A confetti gun appeared. It belched flakes of garnet and gold plastic into the air. Large, young men made festive trash angels in the middle of the field. A boy in an Auburn jersey lingered on the sidelines, crying so hard his mother, bent double over him and wiping with her shirt, couldn't keep up with the tears. I thought about taking a picture, but my hands wouldn't move. They had a conscience of their own.

    James Wilder Jr. led the marching band. "We are the Champions" played. I walked back up to street level. I passed one Florida State fan, looking tranquil and slightly dazed. He looked at a friend, and said this in a deliberate, level voice:

    "We are gonna go to jail together tonight."

    A continent of garbage is floating in the Pacific Ocean. Plastic bottles, bags, aerosol cans, six-pack rings, and other assorted plastic meso-litter swirls in a current called the North Pacific Gyre. It is hard to tell exactly how big it is. It might cover eight percent of the ocean, but it might be a fraction of that, a mere drop of swirling trash in the immensity of the ocean.

    It's out there, though, one big swirling metaphor for everything wrong with college football. This is an end, but only for an acronym and the attendant business arrangement associated with it. Courts could shift the winds in a second, bringing everything crashing to shore in a single wave of long-delayed reckoning. Players could shift the currents themselves. Schools might reform before reform is forced on them, beginning the cleanup all on their own.

    Nothing at all could happen. Nothing happening is always an option when dealing with enormous messes.

    The sun set over the hills behind the Rose Bowl last night just after kickoff. It tracked west as the earth rolled away from it, and drew shadows across the face of the pressbox. High clouds blowing towards the mountains fluoresced with the sunset. The sun dove still lower before disappearing into a reddened, garbage-strewn Pacific 40 miles or so to the west. The stadium lights obliterated the stars from the sky, and then all you could see was the game.


    More from SB Nation college football:

    Plot twists and the ends: Bill Connelly on the Championship’s numbers

    Florida State: The SEC’s worst nightmare

    How FSU and Auburn were built: Why recruiting matters so much

    College football news | Final Top 25 led by FSU, Auburn, Michigan State

    Long CFB reads | The death of a college football player

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    The Criterion Collection welcomes The Royal TenenBCS to the roster of fine films to make the roster. Selected stills and excerpts included below are not embargoed, and may be used in all media immediately.

    Concierge: Mr. TenenBCS. We're evicting you. Your bill is due. It is approximately $22 million, give or take what you owe to UConn for the Fiesta Bowl.



    Royal TenenBCS: you have any money for Finebaum, here?

    Concierge: No.

    Royal TeneBCS: Dammit.


    Nick TenenBCS clicks a stopwatch and shakes his head.

    Nick: Four minutes.

    Jimbo and Kirby: [in unison] SORRY DAD.

    Nick: You're all burned. You're all burned to a crisp.

    Jimbo: This is just a fire drill, and Dad did you see I won a BCS---


    Narrator: Willie had retired from professional football at the age of 27, and lived on what he insisted was a "boat."

    PA Announcer: Mr. Georgia Southern leads 40-15.

    Commentator 1:I've never seen anything like this. That's 745 unforced errors and no points for Willie TenenBCS.

    Commentator 2:Neither have I. Strange day out here at Florida Fields.

    Narrator: Wille was haunted by an unrequited love


    Willie: I can't stop thinking about you.

    MarGOAT: Who are you, and why are you sitting so close to me on the porch?


    Willie: I went a way for a year and it didn't get any better. I love you.

    MarGOAT: I don't know who you are buddy and you and your stalker ass are standin' between MarGOAT and a quick eighteen. I hate it when I lose two balls in a round, and I bet you would, too, pal. Get your Barney Rubble-lookin' self to steppin' before I give you a two-stroke penalty you won't forget.

    Narrator: Dr. Corso specialized in rare cases that stumped other neurologists.

    Dr. Corso: And...begin.

    Dr. Corso: Hm....fascinating.

    Narrator: Eli Briles grew up across the street from the TenenBCS house. He was a writer famous for short paragraphs that took no longer than ten seconds to read.


    Briles: And the ponies and the men and the women embloodened by joy pranced in the turnticulating light of a fatally turnt dusk.


    Briles: Thank you.


    ["Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard" plays]





    [a great screeching]


    Briles: Did I hit anyone?

    Royal: No, but Gundy Manor appears to have destroyed your car.

    Strongman: I know it's not structural, but you should file a claim anyway.

    Narrator: No one spoke at the funeral. But it was agreed among them that Royal would have found his funeral...most satisfactory.

    [Van Morrison sings]





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    woooooo ahahahahahahahaa--

    [/drops morning Big Gulp of Glenmore Gin and Diet Sundrop]


    ha ha

    a ha ha hahahhahahaa



    [/puts dirty feet on couch and starts rolling and kicking like Rick James]


    [/dies and explodes in that order]


    [/coughs up license plate and old boot]


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    The moment arrives. Are you ready for it, Vandy? YOU ARE NOW.


    Vandy isn't just a job for anyone. It's a job for SOMEONE. Someone with legs, and arms. All of them, still attached to his stumpy body. It's a job that requires vision, a fully functional vision without cataracts or stigmatisms. You need a coach with bite, as in having all of their teeth, and someone who can walk a walk. Not the walk, but literally can walk with two mostly healthy legs.

    (We acknowledge the accomplishments of Coach Dustbuster-strapped-to-a-skateboard, who went 6-34 at Vandy from 1984--1987.)

    He's clean most days. He's so vaccinated, and his most recent tetanus shot came last week, and not at all because he keeps crawling into old refrigerators to sleep, even though decades of children's television warned him against this very thing!

    As a head coach, he's never lost a regulation game to the Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, Arena Football League, NFC East, Flagler County Senior Tennis Association, Boy Scouts of America, or ANY of the Guineas!*

    *Lost 10-7 to Equatorial Guinea at Florida in 2013.

    You know that thing where someone buys a painting for $50 at a garage sale and then it later turns out to be a Renoir worth millions! Yeah, it's like that! Totally! Ground floor investment at basement-level prices. That's what we're talking about here, robber barons of the West End. Franklin's very name means money, but Muschamp's means "Field of flies" in Old French. Why? Because what he's got is sweet, and everyone wants to swarm over and get a taste. Maybe lay some eggs in what you've got and have their young in it. Flies, like Will Muschamp, are about program-building.

    What's our point here? It's simple.

    You can't know if Will Muschamp's belly is full of Faberge eggs until you buy him and get to cutting.

    If you are interested in contacting Will Muschamp about the Vanderbilt vacancy, please tie a $50 bill to a chunk of raw meat and throw in the direction of Gainesville, Florida. He'll know what it means.

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  • 01/14/14--10:37: EMBRACE NICK SABAN'S SADNESS


    You don't know this isn't Nick Saban's Christmas card. It probably is, mailed in black envelopes to family and recruits sprayed with an aerosolized smell corresponding with sadness: the odor of musty, unwashed laundry, or a room gone sour when the air conditioning is turned off along with the electricity.

    Who carries a can of something that sad and unappealing? The man who thinks of everything but how to face down tall receivers with tiny corners, Nick Saban, that's who. He probably also put some kind of terrible, anti-festive confetti in the envelope, too. Probably iron filings, or sort-of-live bees, or some such other irritant you'll have to spend an hour cleaning off your carpet or opening every window in your house to escape.

    And why, why share this sadness with others? BECAUSE NICK SABAN IS SAD. He is sending you a Spotify list loaded with the saddest songs he knows. There is not a song made after 1984 on there, because that is when Nick Saban's entire mindbodysoul decided to focus on football, but if .38 Special doesn't hold up after all these years then hell, nothing is real anymore.

    You will listen to it and be sad. You will be so goddamn sad over the loss of two football games to two very good football teams, because Nick Saban wants you to feel this pain. Embrace it with open arms, because ALABAMA LOST TWO GAMES AFTER WINNING THREE NATIONAL TITLES IN FOUR YEARS. YOU POOR, POOR BASTARDS SHOULD FEEL BAD ABOUT EVERYTHING.

    In conclusion, high achievers like .38 Special, and hold on loosely to everything but victory.

    (Via and r/cfb)

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    1. He is the new defensive coordinator at Georgia, replacing Todd Grantham, who was hired for a million dollars a year after coaching a UGA defense that went 5th, 32nd, and 45th in total defense over the past three years. If you see a knife dropping to the ground, and need it caught and caught now, call Tom Jurich in the year 2014. He'll do it without gloves and with a smile.

    2. Pruitt is the defensive coordinator of the national champion Florida State Seminoles, third in total defense in the year 2013. He was good at his job, and had very good pieces to work with, so at least you know he won't screw up good produce when thrown in a high-end kitchen.

    3. He will be Mark Richt's coordinator and also coached at Hoover High School in 2005, making him someone who has worked for a family man and "a families man."

    4. He's bald, so no wasted time on hair maintenance.

    5. Is on this third job in three years, following in the tradition of some other recent noted Georgia vagabond coordinators.

    6. Was once described as "a fieldhouse rat," so has live young, is warm-blooded, and has a superb work ethic and also possibly the plague.

    7. Does not know what asparagus is, because that's the devil's weird vegetable dry-erase marker and not anything a godly man would put in his body.

    8. Is not Todd Grantham.

    9. Is not Tood Grantham.

    10. Heat's back on you, Bobo.

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  • 01/15/14--07:35: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 1/15/2013


    Before you get too excited/terrified about Vandy really deciding to nuke their program into the Stone Age--mmm, just imagine him saying "our offense will be multiple" at the press conference---remember that Vandy is also interviewing Pep Hamilton and Derek Mason for the same job, two names straight off the Stanford coaching tree. This makes Vandy's coaching search approximately 33% dumb, which is a pretty healthy ratio given the usual stupidity surrounding coaching searches.

    PFFFFFT THAT AIN'T A THING. The PR blitz in the wake of SI's piece on Oklahoma State has cost the university a hundred grand so far, which T. Boone Pickens probably farted into a bucket with a contemptuous sneeze while laughing and feeding Thayer Evans to a pit of komodo dragons in his basement.

    THIS IS NOT AT ALL ADDICTIVE, NOPE. Run a few simulations here and you'll find it's really, really hard to beat Miami 2001 with anyone.

    THE SICK MAN OF THE SEC EAST. Fourth in the way-too-early SEC East rankings, but still first in your heart.

    ACROSS STATE. Just a program inspiring ten thousand words of rapt accuracy on how Jimbo Fisher rebuilt the program while Will Muschamp [WHATEVER WILL MUSCHAMP DOES GOES HERE.]

    UPDATE FROM THE SHRINE GAME. Jerry Glanville has changed the course of human digestion forever, because all he does is innovate.

    ETC: Take a moment to enjoy a Dads classic from Tim and Eric. Oh, thank you, Kid Rock. Frankly, Emily Dickinson's coconut cake sounds like a brick sprinkled with the fruit of the tropics. Lil B's Caillou freestyle is the only good thing to ever come out of the horror that is Caillou.

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    BACK LIKE COOKED CRACK. The first post-season Shutdown Fullcast with ourselves, Jason Kirk, and Celebrity Hot Tub covers the following topics:

    • Breaking the news to Jason that we went to the National Title Game without him
    • Reviewing the Title Game, and then talking about what kind of vermin various fanbases are
    • Why everyone who moves to Nashville eventually starts to look the same
    • A discussion of coaching hires, especially the man so intense hair cannot stay on his burning skull, James Franklin
    • Why Mark Richt will spend his retirement answering a higher calling, i.e. catching up on the entire Fast and Furious series
    • Why GTA: Athens would be the most pointless game ever
    • Asking the question: is Tom Rinaldi Aquaman, or a dolphin?

    You may download directly here, subscribe on iTunes under sporting podcasts, or simply listen in the embedded player below.

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  • 01/16/14--07:17: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 1/16/2013

    JOHNNY PLEASE COME BACK. We didn't think we missed him, and then this happened.

    It's already a sadder terrarium without you, Juan Futbol, and not just because you gave commentators a chance to endlessly tumble face-first over the steeplechase bar of their own idiocy and wad panties into knots unknown to the crustiest of sailors. Come home, Johnny. We're sorry. (Via)

    THEY ARE INDEED A BIT MAD. James Franklin can't even leave a goodbye message to Vandy without eliciting a bit of anger, a perverse tribute to how good Franklin was for Vandy: fans who once might have shrugged and thought "Well, we're Vandy" now assume the job is competitive enough to generate its own gravity, and thus be worthy of some anger when someone escapes orbit.

    JUST THROW IT OUT THERE, TALK RADIO. Sure, just allege that Jeremy Pruitt left Florida State because he was having an affair with an FSU employee. Don't be shy with it. Like, HEAVE it out there. Get some distance on it.

    KLIFF DON'T EVER SAY WHAT YOUR FAVORITE RAP SONGS ARE EVER THAT'S HOW YOU GET KILLED IN THESE STREETS. Dammit, Kliff, this was going so well, and then you had an opinion.

    What would be the 5 rap songs that you would put in your own History of Rap?

    Coach Kingsbury: 5) Nuthin' But a G Thang by Dr. Dre, 4) Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice, 3) Juicy by Notorious B.I.G., 2) Lose Yourself by Eminem, 1) Forever by Drake, Kanye, Lil Wayne and Eminem

    WELL IT'S BEEN FUN. Good luck with the online Tupac-istas, and if the Ghostface cultists come for you, well, not even luck will help you then.

    VILE! Auburn Jesus and his electric spirit do make for the best emails.

    ETC: You could make fun of an MMA fighter for pooping himself in the ring, but then you remember that he is an MMA fighter, and you are not.

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    We will wear this provided certain conditions are met. You must cut the sleeves off first. Then, we will be given a jheri curl of the greatest possible intensity, a la Eric Dickerson's. Following the curl, we will be given a muscle car on signing of endorsement, and possibly whatever loose change you have kicking around in that wallet of yours. Finally, we will wear this everywhere for six months provided we all deny it, go on to successful  careers, and leave the program in ruins for two decades.


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    Don't talk about a man until you've walked a mile in his affordable, poorly cut pants.

    Because we wanted to see what the fuss was all about, we went and spent this website's money to find out what it was like to wear another man's pants. A Harbaugh man's pants, specifically.


    They were not $8. Let's dispel that myth: Based on local pricing and taxes, my pair of Jim Harbaugh Victory Khakis came to about $10 at my nearest Walmart. I found them in stacks in the menswear section, just around the corner from a Duck Dynasty standee and down the aisle from a huge pile of cold weather gloves.

    The brand: GEORGE. That's the name of Walmart's men's line: Just, GEORGE, like the biggest, blandest man on the planet, whose goal in clothing is to "not be naked."


    I had to find the closest thing to my size (36x30) in a 36x29. Even with a shorter leg, however, the legs flopped down onto my shoetops like harem pants. The waist was fine, and may be the best thing about a pair of Harbaugh Victory Khakis. It definitely comes somewhat close to a fit, and most definitely does not leave you walking around in your underwear.

    The rest is a disaster. I have an ass, which, on the lunar scale, is a waxing gibbous moon. It's there, and even with that it's hard to say what a normal person would look like in these pants because there is a private Idaho in the hindquarters of every pair of George slacks. They are vast, and contain multitudes and possibly millions of tons of delicious potatoes.

    Reviewers agree:


    A person with an average-sized ass would disappear inside a pair of George Slacks, creating the ultimate in theoretical pants physics: Schrodinger's Ass. The legs aren't much better. Once I got them home, I put a soccer ball into them just to see how far it would get down the pants leg. It stopped just under the knee. George brand pants discriminate against those with soccer-ball-sized calves, so be advised.

    Breaking Madden

    Properly speaking, Harbaugh Victory Khakis are not even "pants." They are pantaloons: huge, billowy pajamas in disguise. The only advantage to them is that they come ready for stomping, spinning and other frantic coaching gyrations of the Harbaugh-type variety. If you were to call them a performance pant, you would not be lying so long as you were to say, "You can freak out like a wasp-stung toddler in them over a holding call in comfort." I twirled in them, and did not burst into flame or injure myself. They're quality twirling pants.


    No. Just, no. There are threads sticking out all over the place, and the crotch would probably fray and explode after four or five washes. This is bad unless you are looking for a pair of pants that convert to crotchless. If this is you, please purchase a pair of George brand pants, and wait a month. The fabric is a 40/60 polyester-cotton blend, made by someone in Bangladesh who laughs at people who believe there is an ounce of cotton in these pants. This is the same fabric your uncle re-covers couches in before moving them to the garage to be lived in by rodents.


    They might be flammable? Like, really, really flammable? I didn't test it, but I'll assume they're insanely flammable.


    Deep. Oh, very deep. The harem pant effect is NOT helped by them at all, but dye them and you can give your pants to your friend the Civil War re-enactor for use on the battlefield. He'll try to give you hardtack in exchange! Don't eat it, hardtack is total crap.


    It has them, but with this much room to starboard, port, bow, and stern, you can fit an entire ship's crew into these pants. Wear them, and become the cargo freighter of a man you always dreamed of becoming.


    These pants pass the basic pants test. They do not fall off you, and are about $10. You could probably wear them for a month, and possibly longer provided you took special care they did not deserve. They're the Bengals of pants, basically: mostly mediocre, but exactly what you get for the money.

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    Ah, so close to our dream of Ian Darke calling a college football game with zero preparation. Which brings us to the point we want to make here: now that ESPN has done the BCS MEGACAST, and did so pretty successfully, there is no reason why Ian Darke can't do exactly this.

    We missed the whole thing via the inconvenience of actually being there for once, but after watching just the film room replay of the game and checking out a few of the alternate feeds, it works. Not for everyone, no, but it works in the sense that people browse their way through games anyway, and watch with at least one other screen open. (See: twitter dot com, which can get so engrossing on game day that you end up paying attention to games you'd otherwise never watch a second of at all.)

    Imagine this. Recall the moment when Eminem appeared in the booth with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit. Now, imagine that three minutes transferred to an entire channel where instead of three minutes, you get the B-team announcers and/or a completely different host struggling with Detroit's most noted famous naked mole rat for an entire hour of unspeakable weirdness. Imagine this not on the title game, but on a random Saturday night in the fall, done strictly as an extra for those who not only hope between games, but would like to hop around within the bounds of the same broadcast.

    Better still, imagine the Waldorf and Statler channel, i.e. the EDSBS channel, where Celebrity Hot Tub and ourselves simply narrate the game for you while polishing off a tumbler of brandy and eating Popeye's on air. What does this cost? Next to nothing, especially the Celebrity Hot Tub and ourselves part. We don't even get paid in money, but barter is amazing if you practice it enough without starving to death.

    Or finally, imagine a channel where Ian Darke and a good former coach are bantering back and forth about the game and saying whatever comes to mind. We're so freaking close to this happening for real, and that's before we mention the possibility of a channel featuring Chris Spielman just going 100 mph with coachspeak and disappointed sighs at poor technique and missed assignments.

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    Because we really did want this as a ringtone and made it, we might as well share it with you. HIDDA FAT MAN HIDDA FAT MAN HIDDA FAT MAN HIDDA FAT MAN---

    You may also download directly here. This ringtone is headed to the Super Bowl for the third time, and is still winless versus Florida.

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    If Nick Saban has one, everyone has one.

    Bret Bielema: Skanking

    Bill Snyder: The Grizzly Bear, the dance that got Woodrow Wilson's inaugural ball cancelled! Bill did it that night at a gin joint with a dandy damsel from Des Moines anyway!

    Art Briles: David Byrne's "Twitching As Fast As I Can" thing.

    Dana Holgorsen: Daggering (see: "Country Roads (Major Lazer Megamix)"

    Lou Holtz: This, while listening to Reel to Real's "Move It."

    Steve Spurrier: with your mother, and she liked it

    Jimbo Fisher: the name of the dance has been long forgotten, but now you're married to him so really you have better things to worry about.

    Rich Rodriguez: The Dad-Driving-By-Himself-Banging-Out-The-Bass-Tab-To-25-Or-6-To-4-On-The-Steering-Wheel

    Bob Davie: the A-Town Stomp, but only because he spilled maple syrup all over the floor and dangit now we got ants everywhere go get the hose

    Bo Pelini: a uniquely disturbing fan dance

    Al Golden: Straight Chippenedales lust-prancing

    Tim Beckman: Da Dip

    George O'Leary: hits you with a length of rubber tubing in perfect 3/4 time.

    Brady Hoke: Krumping

    Urban Meyer: On your grave, to whatever music you hated most.

    Kirk Ferentz: The Huell Flop

    Hugh Freeze: A mean Crip Walk

    Dabo Swinney: Cloggin'

    Mark Dantonio: When his players aren't looking? A heartrending tango performed with his dance partner of three decades and close personal friend Hoda Kotb

    PJ Fleck: ROW




    Bobby Petrino: The Motorcycle

    SPECIAL NFL CAMEO! Rob Ryan: This.

    ALREADY TAKEN! The worm, by the usual suspects.

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    Please think about how long James Franklin was at Vandy: four years, a span of time that is enough for most people to get sort of close to finishing college, and for Prince to record somewhere around eight hundred songs you will never hear due to thirty-year old copyright disputes. It is enough time for a child to go from slobbering dependent cuteness to fully articulate monster, and enough time to complete two masters' degrees. You can get a decent patch of asparagus going in that time, or build a few houses.

    Unless you are a coach's wife, in which case four years is an eternity. Four years is enough time to put kids through middle school in the same school, and almost sort of maybe build some equity in a house. It's time enough to get to know people in your community, and have something like a normal life for a bit. Mike Leach said the best time for his family in coaching was the five years he spent at Valdosta, of all places, mostly because he got to live somewhere, and not just in an extended stay hotel. It was Valdosta, but it was five years of the same thing, in the same place, with the same people.

    So behind all this are the families and the wives who have to move, and move again, and soon turn it into a habit so well-acquired that sitting in one place for too long feels like the new abnormal. That's the unwritten flip side of the coaching transfer season in college football: that every contract and negotiation implies another insta-house being put back on the market, and schools to be found, and rental vans to hire to move to another house that will likely grow into something like "home" just in time to be sold when stakes have to be pulled up for the next stop.

    This isn't to imply some pity: they get paid to do this at the highest levels, unlike their players. But do save a moment for the thought that after every season, the architects and managers of America's greatest black market sport are shuffled by an invisible mad over-manager and scattered randomly across the United States, often to towns with more livestock than population.

    This is a profoundly strange sport for a lot of reasons. One of them is that behind every coaching search and hire, there is a family who just rolls along with moving, firings, and hirings. We have no idea why you'd voluntarily be in a coaching family. The hours are insane, the pay up to a certain point is awful, and you never get to really call anywhere home. We'll also never condone nepotism in coaching, but that's certainly more understandable when you think about how few coaches even get the chance to say a proper goodbye like Herb did up there. Hiring a son or daughter might be the most time you ever spend with your family, and after thinking about it a bit we're sort of shocked no one's wife has ever been defensive coordinator.*

    *There are numerous instances where this might have been a better alternative than the actual defensive coordinator. We bet Terry Saban can call and teach a passable Cover 2, for instance.

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    Series: Five, aka "Archer Vice." You know, the one where they are banned from spying and have to sell coke to make ends meet. They have to, and there is no alternative. Shut up with the quibbling: Pam's trucking it in on a forklift as we speak, and forcing us to the natural intersection between Pusha T and Archer's story arcs.

    Location: Miami. And also New York City, where the ISIS mafia has holed up at Tunt Manor while they figure out how to move bricks, but mostly Miami simply for the point of getting the show to Miami. (No sign of Babou the Ocelot, sadly.) The point is to get the show to Miami sometime in the 1980s, which Adam Reed wisely realizes is the point of at least 40% of all quality television.

    Somewhere along that bloodstained neon shore, Dorothy Zbornak is stepping over the bodies of drug couriers who skimmed a bit too much off the top one night. She might have done the work on them, too, because Bea Arthur was a trained killer who faked her own death. She is right behind you, and you have never been more aroused in your life. Cherish this moment: it may be your last.

    Plot: They sell the coke via Ramon to Charles and Rudy, the gay assassins who nearly killed Archer in "Honeypot." But that's putting a few things ahead of the important smuggling vector ripped straight from the headlines: Archer and Lana get the coke there via putting Pam in a body cast.

    Why Pam, you ask? Because no amount of cocaine on the planet could kill her indestructible, pit-fighting body, even when her body is enveloped in a full-body cocaine cast. Can you eat cocaine in solid form? Oh, you really, really should not ever try this, particularly when it's cocaine taken from someone's butt. You'll die horribly, and not end up "coke strong" and raging like Pam in "A Kiss Before Dying." Coke. Cocaine. Coke.

    Ramon is in on the sale, double-crosses Archer with Charles and Rudy, joins forces with Archer to get the money back, dies in a firefight, requests a dying kiss from Archer, gets it, and then is revealed to have set the whole thing up in a hot tub revelation with Charles and Rudy who describe it as "stupid, stupid, stupid," and add a few more stupids. The custody of a fondue pot is also involved, and it's not even Le Creuset.

    Also, Cheryl is training to be a country singer with Ray, who is still paralyzed. Or may just be sitting down because he likes it. It's hard to remember at this point, and that's the point, people who like points and logic. There is no point, and we've opened up Miami in a transitional episode shifting the series towards whatever the unholy fuck "Archer Vice" is gonna be.

    (Oh, the money was counterfeit, too, and they're still broke, because of course that's how this would end.)

    Ripped from the headlines: Some poor Chilean man tried the cocaine cast in 2009 with a leg cast, and we know this because it really, really did not fool anyone at Spanish customs.

    References: The "Leon" reference by Lana when offered pieces of Pam's cocaine candy/cast was from The Andy Griffith Show. Leon was the kid who ate sandwiches and offered bites to cast members without saying much, an offer that was usually refused politely. Leon was played by Clint Howard, Ron's brother, aka the dude from The Waterboy and WoW handle "Peekay."

    Cameos: Ron Perlman as Ramon, Tom Lennon as Charles.

    Was Pam naked: Yup.

    Did Archer lose another loved one to gunfire: Yes, but not really.

    Complaints about free entertainment: It's not a great episode, and Ramon's a hard hook to hang half an episode on without some serious support work from other characters. I'm only tolerating Cheryl's singing career plotline because it will lead to country music caricatures, and mocking the hell out of Nashville and other country music fodder. We miss Babou, but that's really about needing a pet and enjoying ocelot references, and not Archer. They've barely begun to dip into the rich filth of Florida, but this is the second episode, and 22 minutes can only fit in so many fondue pots, cocaine body casts, and faked deaths. But we're underway, and it's going nowhere normal. We're right on schedule, even with a setup/tweener story in a larger arc like this one.


    • Krieger will be the Mickey Munday of the operation as soon as he stops looking at bathroom cams
    • Ray's gonna be the Porter Waggoner to Cheryl's Dolly
    • Mallory's going full Griselda Blanco
    • We'll see Ramon again


    "It smells like a kennel, but for dogs that are poor." --Archer, referring to Pam's body cast

    "Uno Rampageo!" --Archer

    "COCAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE." --Pam, like, at any point in this episode

    "Hellooooooo---" Woodhouse, living in an empty swimming pool. I like to think any empty swimming pool is a J.G. Ballard reference, so I will.

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    Oh, Under Armour, you think you're getting a deal, but knowing the number of Notre Dame people we know who work in investment banking, you're already dead.

    Notre Dame’s new deal with Under Armour will also span 10 years. Swarbrick declined to offer details on the financial aspect of the partnership, but he confirmed that the Irish will have the option to take a portion of the cash component in Under Armour stock.

    Because this is how this works. First, you'll get a good Notre Dame season, like the 2012 season, one of those eleven win seasons you can rip off with some close victories, an airtight defense, and just enough offense from whatever three quarterbacks Brian Kelly sutures together out of five MAC-quality QBs. (Kelly's the Congolese mechanic of quarterbacks: give him five unrelated parts and fifteen minutes, and he WILL have the car moving.)

    The leftover parts from those two quarterbacks remaining? They become Florida's starting quarterback, a reanimated pile of of error that mercifully tears their ACL three games into a seven game losing streak. But we digress.

    Then, with Under Armour at peak value, they sell, and then short the hell out of the stock before ousting Kelly and watching Under Armour's price plummet. ND makes a jillion dollars off this, uses the extra cash to hire Urban Meyer, and repeats the process again before gaining total control of Under Armour, gutting it for parts, and signing with a Chinese apparel company eager to make inroads into the American market. This Chinese company can only name one college football team, but this is true of most Notre Dame fans, too. An ideal international marriage, really.

    Then Notre Dame does this with that Chinese company, takes it over, and U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! This started out as a tale of villainy. But here we are at the end, Notre Dame, with you a dark conquering hero of sorts in the war for the 21st century. You might be a great vampire squid lashed to the face of college football, but you're our parasitic great vampire squid, dammit. Better to have you on our side than in the trenches of the opponent.

    P.S. Meanwhile, USC has signed a deal with American Apparel, and oh god we can see everything, Sark. Everything.

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  • 01/22/14--09:26: RON PRINCE, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW



    We were so excited there for a minute--a Renaissance man is beheld!---but like many things on the internet, it's too good to be true, and is a typo. Tuscaloosa attorney Bob Prince is Ms. Saban's attorney, and he didn't earn the "Master Bencher" title just to have you confuse him with a journeyman coach currently preparing to ride the Jim Caldwell train all the way to conference participation trophies.

    Still, one can dream. One MUST dream:


    Prince (Bob) is making a fantastic legal argument, however, and one in keeping with The Process and all it preaches. Kristin Saban did not start the fight with plaintiff Sarah Grimes, per Prince.

    "There is no question that [Saban] did not assault the plaintiff," Prince said. "What you’re left with is this: You’ve got a drunk assaulter who gets in a fight, loses the fight and sues, and she didn't sue just anybody."

    Thaaaaaaaat's right: she made her ass quit. SHE MADE HER ASS QUIT, NICK. #RollTide

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    This isn't one of those cushy pre-retirement paycheck tours for Peyton Manning, writes Spencer Hall. The Broncos quarterback is a pissed off dad in orthotics, breaking records and tearing apart inferior competition to the bitter end.

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    SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

    I saw Carlos Valderrama play for the Tampa Bay Mutiny sometime between 1999 and 2001. (It was Tampa, and there were not many things for adults to do besides get DUIs and ride bicycles to avoid getting the second DUI.) Valderrama was on the long downswing from his peak as a professional football player. He was fat, and barely moved when another player had the ball. When the Mutiny eventually swung the ball his way, Valderrama did little more than a Cupid Shuffle with the ball, moving to the left, then the right, and then kicking it somewhere else with the deft, tired touch of an exhausted, paunchy jock toying with young and hopelessly untalented lessers.

    He was a giant nuclear dandelion of hair beneath a nylon-encased bolus of high-quality bistec and South American beers picking up paychecks, and nothing else.

    Soccer has a long tradition of this: the wind-down, the meal-ticket finale to a career in leagues less demanding than those the star made their serious Pagani Huayra money playing in for years. Beckham's route went through MLS, Pele's went through the New York Cosmos, and on a lesser but still lucrative level, Valderrama's long, flush downhill ran through the Tampa Bay Mutiny.

    Football players never get to slump elegantly into middle age.

    That is not how American football works, at all, at any level. The career arc of most football players follows a graph cut off at the margins: a final season, a last rush at a title, and then maybe a tearful moment when the topknot is cut off, and their career as a football sumo ends. There are some exceptions. Maybe it stutters along like Brett Favre's five year farewell tour. Perhaps it just ends with a virtual disappearance, as it did with Barry Sanders and his fuck-you retirement sent to the Lions, presumably written on a piece of paper cut out in the shape of a hand with middle finger extended towards Wayne Fontes.*

    *Barry Sanders never really retired. He simply stopped Barry Sanders-ing. He could pick up right now where he left off and rush for 1,500 yards. He simply chooses not to, because Barry Sanders is an indifferent god.

    Barring these instances and the Ray Lewis 2012 Memorial Tour, football players just vanish from the field of play like lost pilots into the ether, retreating to a world of car dealerships and celebrity golf tournaments. At no point do they get the chance to be what old golfers get a chance to be on the Seniors Tour, or what soccer players get to be while they're strangling the pocketbooks of minor circuit managers for their vacation home mortgages. Football players never get to slump elegantly into middle age.

    There may be a few exceptions, though. Kickers like Morten Andersen brave the world of spandex well into their fifth decade. Occasionally a backup quarterback makes it into his forties, like another Tampa regular Steve Deberg. Jon Kitna made news simply by signing with the Cowboys this year at the age of 41. That news seemed to be less about his age, and more about people's morbid curiosity about this: what would Jon Kitna shatter into if hit at the age of 41 by an NFL defensive end running at full speed? I like to think he'd turn into thirty smaller Kitnas, and scatter to live in the bowels of Cowboys Stadium like the NFL's own bald version of the Keebler Elves. They would bond together to torment Jerry Jones, and undermine every one of his successes.

    Peyton Manning may be that other notable exception to the rule. After doctors fused together a spot in his cervical spine held together by gummi bears and packing tape in 2011, Manning couldn't lift a three pound dumbell with his throwing arm. In the 2013 football season Manning has thrown for 55 touchdowns, his career high, and led the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl. He has thrown for more yardage this year per game than at any point in his career. Boggling stat goes here; another boggling stat goes here, outlined in bold and painting a portrait of statistical accuracy aberrant to even the world of robotics.

    This is Peyton Manning's Super Bowl build-up in the media so far:


    They're not wrong: Peyton is old, and not lacking in tributes. (SI's Sportsman of the Year has received enough media compliments, and he's on that Papa John pizza cash. HE'S FINE.)

    The old man angle of his game is another matter altogether. Manning is now so much more finesse and brains than outright skill, an old knuckleballer with a jersey loaded with vaseline and nail files. His passes coming out of his hand can, at times, scream interception at the release point before whispering safely into a receiver's arms at the completion. (Go to the :57 mark here and watch a floater pass through a defender's back like a video game glitch into Wes Welker's hands.)

    Some 37-year old MMA fighters on TRT look like diesel faceripping demons, and that? That is totally not Peyton Manning in 2013. Peyton Manning looks old, and like the things he does are hard and require effort. He runs and throws like a dad on a flag football team, and it looks as difficult as most athletic things done by older men should.

    Correction: like a dad on a really, really good flag football team, one good enough to get on the cover of Dad Magazine, and the one that eliminated your team from the local playoffs for the fifth year in a row. It's sad that we don't get to see football players on the downhill run get their easy paychecks playing in the Senior Flag Football League, touring their way through the Tri-Cities areas of America and waddling around the field like bored, retired ninjas. There's something beautiful about it: an athlete hopefully just playing for play's sake alone, and not for overdue child support payments or to recoup whatever their horrible financial advisor cost them in the last contract.*

    *Inevitably, some would be playing for exactly these reasons.

    It'd be fun to watch Peyton Manning do exactly this farewell bonus tour were it not for one thing: it feels like Manning is already doing just that. Without an MLS to turn to, he simply made the NFL his own custom junior league. Manning is already being paid good money to play his farewell tour against inferior competition--in the NFL, in the year 2013, all done at the highest level of the sport at high speed in a body given up for done just two years ago. Peyton Manning is the self-repairing machine, a quarterback who put up the same production or better late in his career after rebuilding himself. His farewell tour could be his best statistical season played at the very least to the limit of a conference championship, and perhaps a Super Bowl to end it all.

    And unlike a lot of aged soccer gods picking up their bonus checks, this is not tinged with some kind of grim acceptance of mortality or vague sadness in the face of a fallen icon. Peyton Manning in 2014 is something very different, something very far from pity. Two years removed from your sympathy letters, Manning is not just the dad-rock quarterback: he is now the football equivalent of the world's meanest dad. His neck doesn't work, and he's wearing everything sold in the orthotics aisle to the game. (He even tried to tell you this years in advance.) Contrary to all those nice commercials he makes he is not the kind of dad who lets you win anything, much less a football game.

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    Because winter storms apparently get names, now, and because The Weather Channel does not necessarily seem up to the task.

    There is a reason why the Inuit and Yupik languages have dozens of names for snow, and there is also a reason why none of those names are, like, "Kevin" or "Breanne." The first reason would be because snow helps define the Eskimo world, and is not so much a climatological thing as an existential one; there's a lot to it. The reason for the second thing is that it's pretty dumb to name a snowstorm the way one might name a child or dachshund. So, naturally, The Weather Channel has now decided that it will be naming winter storms. And not terribly well, either:


    It is for the best that we will almost certainly run out of winter before we have to hear someone say the words "Winter Storm Maximus," but we all deserve better than a bunch of winter storms that have been stuck with the sort of names that Colin Kaepernick would give to a pet.

    To address this, SB Nation's team of climatologists and nomenclature experts -- Tom Ziller, David Roth, Brian Floyd and Michael Katz -- have come up with a much-improved list of names for winter storms. Use them as needed. Or don't, because storms don't need names. But if they somehow do need names, now, these would be the names they need.
















    Ovinton J'Anthony












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