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    It is April 1st, Waffle House, and that means we believe nothing you say, and shouldn't be taking this personally. We especially shouldn't be taking this personally on behalf of another SEC tribe on the day when social media consists almost entirely of lies. (This makes it different than any other day in that shut up. Just shut up and keep reading.)

    Yet if this is indeed Waffle House fucking with the souls of Aggies who, as SEC members, should by contract have a Waffle House in their town? This transcends all imaginable cruelty pardoned in the name of humor.

    We don't want to hate you, Waffle House. We've shortened our life span in the name of your hashed browns, your begreased eggs, and yes, for the pleasure of your insanely consistent waffles. We've fed your jukeboxes, and even refrained from playing the Waffle House-themed songs just to see if your staff's heads would explode. We have never vomited IN one of your restaurants after a long night of drinking. (On? Perhaps, but never IN.)

    But don't make us hate you, is what we're saying. This better be real. The people of College Station deserve their full rights as SEC members. They deserve to have a horrible, tired, and unimaginative label appended to them by Georgia fans, and the right to accuse the SEC of handing them an unfavorable schedule because "the boys in Birmingham got it in for us." They deserve condescending pity courtesy from Alabama fans. They are now entitled to the rich privilege of having not one, but all the dicks of Baton Rouge offered for immediate sucking by shouting LSU fans. They are also entitled to decline, and then look out that beer's got a brick in it, son, so you better duck.

    Most of all, they are overdue for that beacon of true SEC membership, the yellow buoy floating in a sea of highway rest stop nothingness: a Waffle House. As for our house, we stand with the Aggies. Give them waffles, and no one gets hurt, Waffle House. Toy with their feelings, and risk the wrath of people who still hold a grudge against Texas for shit that happened a century ago. Mess around with them, and the unthinkable might happen: they might run into the arms of Huddle House.

    We can't have that happening, but Texas A&M has left bad relationships in a hurry before. And nothing says "bad relationship" like the promise of waffles without the actual waffles, man.


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  • 04/01/14--10:06: PAINTING IS HARD


    NAILED IT, NASHVILLE. JUST FREAKIN' NAILED IT. To be fair, this seems less "totally racist" than "I have never painted a black person before in my life and it is not going well because this looks like the old racist logo of a discontinued early 20th century brand of grits." But that's enough reason: back to LOLOLLLLLL NASHVILLLLLLLE, even though they're redoing the whole thing after the local NAACP was like, "No, no, no." (Via Deadspin)

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    After a disastrous eleven-win season, the tragicomic Alabama football program has done some recruiting of its own to try and right the ship. First came the hire of Lane Kiffin, dynamic young offensive coordinator with no history of anything interesting happening to him at all. Now comes the selection of Tosh Lupoi, the West Coast's best recruiter, to plug the holes in Alabama's leaky recruiting wall, and signal that Nick Saban is not content with finishing second to anyone.

    That entire paragraph is utterly insane in so many ways, most notably because it's written from the most ridiculous angle possible, and also because it still feels kind of true. Following an eleven-win season and a run of three national titles in four years, a two-loss season resulted in the departure of their offensive coordinator and a simultaneous revamp of their recruiting staff.

    Odder still, it's not like Saban is doing this locally. He's taking two coaches largely known for their work on the West Coast, and bringing them into the SEC because Alabama, evidently tired of dominating recruiting in its own backyard, would now like to begin effortlessly plucking recruits from wherever they like on the edge of the Pacific, too. (Remember: the one thing Lane Kiffin did well consistently at USC, barring all other failures and whoooboy were there a few, was recruit.)

    So this is either the most aggressive, ballsy, and supremely confident program in the entire nation, or its most panic-stricken and insecure, or both because the only standard for Alabama at this point is Alabama, and the only payoff is winning national titles. That sounds like something where all the fun has been sucked from the air entirely, and no one is ever happy about anything, and two losses feel like eight. Speaking as a Florida fan to a fanbase that is deeply poisoned with its own success: TWO LOSSES DO NOT FEEL LIKE EIGHT LOSSES, Y'ALL. TRUST US. TAKE YOUR TOXIC SUCCESS AND RUN WITH IT TO THE DAMN HILLS.

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    We're not going to make fun of Mark Richt's art for a few reasons. It happens to be really good art for anyone, actually, since that looks quite a bit like D'Andre Walker. It happens to be really, really good on the football coach arc, a particularly cruel one when you figure out just how shallow the skill sets of most football coaches are when you veer away from the whiteboard and into the depths of the real world. (Try imagining Ed Orgeron drawing a dog, and your laughter will be the only support we need for this claim.)

    It also happens to be a genuine skill, like planning. For instance, like planning the maintenance of a small but fervent college football site when you're going out of the country. Oh, and your assistant editor is also leaving the country, leaving only Jane, and the denizens of the site to mind the store while you're gone. See, planning for that adequately would take skill: the skill of planning. Which we don't have.

    So over the next few days, while Mr. Tub and ourselves are traipsing around the Continent in separate locations, you'll be in Jane's hands and...your own, really. We'll try to pop in as best we can, but we'll be "on assignment" and running around in Hell. Literally. The place we are going is called "Hell."

    Please submit your own drawings of football coaches in the comments in the meantime. Choose any one of them, and your own medium. MS Paint is fine, but scanning a hastily scrawled Bob Stoops that looks like an epileptic three year old's work into the company scanner is really how you want to get fired these days.

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    Scientists at the University of California--Berkeley announced the discovery of an alternate universe where UConn and Kentucky are both important sports teams, play for championships, and are considered dominant, important forces on the field of play.

    "It's real, it's stranger than anything we could have imagined, and it's verified with science," said Piotr Randov, head of the Berkeley-Finereich Lab for Quantum Research.

    The research comes on the heels of another major discovery by quantum scientists: the existence of gravity waves resulting directly from the Big Bang. Unlike the advanced equipment required to capture that evidence, the discovery of alternate realities required what most scientists would consider primitive equipment.

    "The images, confirmed as real with telemetry and a call to our local cable provider, simply came over the airwaves in HD. This wasn't even, like, basic cable. Anyone could watch it, and confirm for themselves."

    Such alternate realities, posits Randov and his fellow researchers, need not be as dramatic or strange as a championship sports event involving Kentucky and UConn.

    "The differences between the world we know and that of an alternate reality may be as drastic as those we have found here. They could be simple. We have heard evidence of an Alabama football team in the past losing not only a game, but many games in a single season. With the use of fairly simple technologies, we can further confirm the existence of universes like this, or even one where Florida football produces points not resulting from field goals."

    Randov's next step will be confirming his controversial Nantz Constant, which posits that in all possible universes Jim Nantz is both invisible and visible simultaneously, and smells of fresh linen and copy paper.

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    Hi! We were in Turkey for a big piece about going to a soccer match in Turkey, a place that may take soccer more seriously than anyone in the United States takes college football. If you doubt this, consider the last time you watched Alabama fans, or anyone else for that matter, chant "CHEAT CHEAT CHEAT" at another team for ten minutes or so straight at a soccer game. You can't, because this does not happen, and Turkey's soccer fan on the whole is way more serious about fandom than you are.

    So while we're going through our notes--LOL ACTUAL NOTES--on this, here's where Turkish soccer is all but giving you things to do better as a fan, or to demand out of your fan experience. There are only four of them so far, but they're important.

    1. Singing. It's so sad that Americans can't drag together simple songs, but it really enhances an experience as a viewer when everyone can roar through no fewer than five basic songs, all of which mention doing horrible things to the opponent's relatives. This is how you actually feel about rivals, and should be able to express it accordingly with thousands of your close friends.

    2. More stadium overhangs. It just makes things so much louder. Galatasaray's new stadium seats around 52K, and when they'd all whistle in unison at Fenerbahce the screeching was ear-splitting. You'll pay for it in terms of weird shadows-- see Cowboys stadium-- but with a college crowd that actually makes noise the environment would be nigh-hellish without having to suffer the sterility of a dome.



    We'd trade The Swamp for Bursaspor's very real stadium opening later this year any day, so long as we could paint the interior nuke-orange.

    4. Fist-shaking rage. That's probably the most underused gesture for an angry American fan, but nothing feels quite like trying it out and actually shaking your fist like you're a furious old man who has just had something delivered to his home in a ramshackle or half-assed fashion. When the refs made calls against Galatasaray the stands erupted in pure geriatric fist-shaking, and the whole effect went from comic to a bit frightening in just a few nanoseconds.

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  • 04/08/14--14:26: IT'S GONNA BE OKAY

    Some days you wonder why you woke up, or if life is worth living. Then Les Miles kisses a pig, and hope is reborn.

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    If you do actually go to a Tennessee game, it is not without its charms. The stadium does sort of look like a really nice above ground pool, which is appropriate. The sailgating of the Vol Navy is beyond friendly, and if things are going well the crowd can be very, very loud even when Rocky Top is not playing. And until his death there was Bobby Denton, the PA announcer, who since his first game over 40 years ago urged Tennessee patrons to save a dollar and pay no more than the listed price.

    RIP, Bobby Denton. Neyland will be a less frugal place without you, and thus poorer for it.

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    Oh I got an idea or two for you bo-bo


    how bout with the game on the line and those sonsabitches in silver pants just a rarin' to knock the piss outta other guys we just line up and man up and give our running backs what god intended them to get and RUN THE DAMN BAWL, BOBOOOOOOOO.

    oh we got other options i know. you made that bundantly clear by lettin Arn Murray do the big stuff when we needed it. I'm as much a fan ah dwarves rights as any man. i watch game ah thrones for that reason and also because of the titties. i'd apologize to my pastor right now but i think he's got the same reasons lord forgive us all. tyrian lannister is but one of us and he's just tryin to feed his family and maybe get a little along the way. mark richt woudl understand and so should you.

    but the short have lives and reasons too but i'll be damned if i keep lettin them throw for no gain or some other rollout option bullcarp on third en short when all we should do is give gurshall or marshley or whatever you wanna call our double-headed beast of a running back pair the ball where they can RUN THE DAMN BALL. YOU HEARD ME BOBO: THE DAMN BALL. Less it's some big ol trollsize jughead QB like matt staffrd you gotta take the ball outta them tiny qb hands and let a man tote the rock and get this team to victry.

    this like to got me all ruint and angry on the most important week of georgia football fan's life: the masters.

    p.s. please consider my play for use as no defense wants none when one runs the damn ball enough

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    1. He's already marked the course as his own.

    2. He's got a winning streak going against Tigers. (We know he's not playing but it's a confidence thing, man.)

    3. Rotating caddies keeps them on their toes.

    4. If it's UGA grad Bubba Watson and him at the end Spurrier will beat him by at least three touchdowns.

    5. Additionally, ain't no way he's losing to Georgia twice in a season.

    6. As long as Nick Saban doesn't show up he'll have the best short game in the field.

    7. What you need on the back nine is a good pass rush and to run the ball wait what sport is this? aw hell, fuck it, whatever, winnin' is winnin'.

    8. You know spurrier likes his lawn freshly mown, if you get my meanin'. Ladies.

    9. He doesn't care how old Arnold Palmer is. If he's out there and doesn't hit it past the first tee, those pants have got to come off for the duration of the hole. We've all seen old men with their pants down, at least those of us who ever stayed in a hotel with Jackie Sherrill, at least.

    10. Once the shirt comes off around the 12th hole, you're fucked.

    (Via Paul)

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    What happens when a sports writer drinks a cup of coffee and mans the passenger seat of a competition race plane? Spencer Hall found out during his flight with race pilot Kirby Chambliss.

    1. Kirby Chambliss is a pilot. That sentence is somewhat accurate, since many, many people are pilots, and their quality, skills, and ability to peel a plane away from gravity and send it bouncing end-over-end through the air vary greatly. Your friend who has 100 hours of flight, and is perhaps capable of crash-landing a Cessna without killing everyone on board? They are a kind of pilot, and not the kind of pilot Kirby Chambliss is.

    2. Red Bull is a company apparently capable of space travel, mind control, and countless other potential technologies it ignores in favor of a.) selling energy drinks, and b.) subsidizing outlandish, speed-freaky sports in the name of self-promotion. It is very good at both, and that is why you see Austrian teenagers with their fear glands removed diving sideways in wingsuits off the tops of Norwegian fjords wearing its logo all over YouTube. Occasionally they invite a journalist along to do one of these stupid things, and usually the journalist refuses because these things are very, very stupid.

    3. The exception to that is me, because I am stupid and actually want to get in the plane with Chambliss, a tall, easygoing dude from Texas who talks like a pilot, walks like a pilot, and has a supernatural ability to speak clearly and easily while throwing his plane into G-heavy vomit spirals. He has to do the Air Race in a few weeks, and a show, and then take his plane, a twin engine commuter prop to our left, back home to his ranch in Arizona. This ranch is built under waivered airspace in the desert somewhere between Tucson and Phoenix, meaning he can fly over it any time he likes. His home comes with its own hangar, and his neighbors alternate complaining about the noise with telling him about how they liked that cool thing he did yesterday with the plane. Chambliss can practically roll out of bed and into the air.

    4. Kirby smiles. "That plane's tail would come off if we did what we're going to do today in the race plane," he says, pointing to the commuter. The race plane is built of carbon fiber and reinforced to the gills to stand the intense forces of race flight, a nice thing to tell your brain when you're climbing in, putting on the double harnesses keeping you in place, and pondering the physics of how you, a 300 horsepower engine, and a man you just met will not simply fall from the sky like a hammer falling onto the nail of your mortal, breakable self.

    5. Taking off over the khaki nothing surrounding the airfield in Lancaster, California, that seems so very, very likely. The plane feels like it's made of carbon fibery nothing beneath you, and because this is a two-seater, the passenger rides forward of the pilot. The sensation is that of being alone in a levitating capsule made of spun gelatin, even though the cabin is so compact you can see Kirby's feet under your seat. There are no hand holds, only bars that make up the airframe holding us inside the plane.

    6. There are two black sticks I could grab on to in event of an emergency mounted on either side of the cockpit. I really should not grab these, ever: they are the release pulls for the cockpit. If they are pulled loose, the entire canopy flies off the plane, turning this into a convertible instantly. This would be disorienting and therefore bad, but there is one more reason why I should not do this. The canopy could fly clear through the tail, shear it off, and effectively destroy the plane. Then I would have to use the parachute I am wearing, a big if since I probably can't get out of a spinning plane anyway, and also have never used a parachute. The only serious thought I have is that I can relax, because at the relatively low altitudes we'll be flying at I'd be dead quickly after a short but very stimulating trajectory into the ground. (Plus, the perfectly good chute wouldn't have to be repacked for the next lucky passenger.)

    7. I'm wearing an airsuit that has been vomited on recently.

    8. Taking off is fine: there is a brilliant, clear blue desert sky, and little postcards of burnt-colored nothing below us. I can see these because there are little windows in the floor of the plane, as well as yellow pieces of metal molded to the wingtips to help the pilot verify precise angular relation to the horizon. There is also a streamer attached to each wingtip. If it runs backwards, it means you are falling backwards, and have either done the "Falling Leaf" trick, or have violated every law of physics known to man. There's going to be smoke in the cockpit, he says, but don't worry. I hear the first part of the sentence, and the second part, well, my brain discards in favor of THE PLANE IS GOING TO BE ON FIRE THE WHOLE TIME. There is a plastic bag attached to my console if I feel sick and need to vomit the coffee and little else I have in my stomach into something. He asks that I please try to do this: we are riding in a fishtank, and anything turned loose in the cabin has a tendency to do its own aerobatics through the cockpit.


    9. And then Kirby starts talking, and I hardly notice what he's doing. He's saying numbers: 90, 180, 270. These are angles he's turning the plane through, stopping on hard points of the compass as he says them. There is the earth, then the earth running parallel to us, and then the perpendicular opposite angle, and then the earth, ticked level again with a flick of the stick. We flip upside down, and ride there for a moment. The plane, so feather-light it felt like a stiff hiccup of the wind could dash it into a mountainside with ease, is something else entirely now. It has invisible control points it hits in open space: level, sideways, upside down, and all the points in between. This is not flight, but geometry, and it could be measured in stances like dance moves or diagrammed like phase changes.

    10. "Okay here we go and---" I sort of lose track of Kirby's exact words at this moment, because the dance moves get more complex. The plane tumbles end-over-end, and I see the same farmhouse swing two or three times past my field of vision.  I distinctly remember him making a joke about a flat spin being something that Tom Cruise did not like, and then realizing we were in a deliberately induced flat spin, the mountains of the California desert pivoting around us on either side. That little streamer I mentioned went limp as Kirby kicked the plane full vertical, let the sun blast our eyes from our heads for a moment, and then let the plane fall backwards, tail-first, toward the ground. I saw it, staring aghast out toward the wingtip.

    "That plane's tail would come off if we did what we're going to do today in the race plane." -Kirby Chambliss

    11. There was a flurry of other tumbles, spins, mid-air full-stops. The good thing about being tossed into an experience you cannot comprehend with any part of your tiny, ape-like brain is that many of its higher functions shut down under intense stress. I couldn't be anxious because anxiety, it turns out, is pretty high-level stuff, and with G-forces stripping my brain of blood most of that was funneled to things like preventing brain death and making sure I didn't shit myself. Whatever other fear I had was cut short by the awe-inspiring handling of the airplane itself. Precise barely explores the fringe of its motion in the hands of a pilot who knows what he's doing. Kirby could park it in an unstable position, hold for an instant, and then swing the entire plane around on a needle's point the other direction, creating forces that yes, would have torn other planes apart like confetti. The plane seemed alive, but a very specific kind of alive under the stress of aerobatic flight. It seemed like it was bored, and desperately wanting to do more.

    12. Kirby Chambliss and that plane together are basically an Australian Shepherd performing obedience trials or astonishing an NBA halftime crowd, and I was the tiny, confused macaque riding on its back.

    Flying the world's fastest plane

    13. That monkey, namely me, could take every sensation and stress save one: the payback for taking out credit against gravity. Every sequence ended with a leveling out, a coming to parallel with the horizon when gravity would reset, grab you by the bloodstream, and then pull it through the floor. Your eyes baffled like an unbalanced washing machine, the horizon blurred, and the feeling of something trying to push you into the seat with the heel of a boot came over you. Psychologically, I was either fine, or too overwhelmed to assume I was anything but fine. On the third series of aerobatics, my stomach decided to bail out of the plane.

    14. G-tolerance is evidently like drinking: you have to build up a tolerance for it, or risk painful, repeated bouts of nausea. So I grabbed the Ziploc bag, waited a minute, and then rode the rest of the way back to the airfield heaving up the morning's coffee, and then frothy yellow bile into the bag. It's not as bad as it all sounds. I lasted two and a half minutes, which is pretty good for your first time in a lot of contexts. I also wasn't the one who had to dispose of the bag, which I handed to an unfortunate crew member as I stumbled out of the cockpit and thought about getting breakfast for the second time.

    Kirby Chambliss and the rest of the Red Bull Air Race runs this weekend at Rovinj, Croatia.

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    Hi, Nebraska fans who might actually think this is a bad thing. (There are like three of them, but bear with us.) You watch a sport for fun. A sport, i.e. a game you probably barely pay for in a lot of instances. Even if you do pay for tickets, you pay very little relative to the minutes per dollar invested in the experience. It is entertainment, and that is important in life, but it is entertainment nonetheless.

    And you should get mad over football, or woodworking, or pogs, or whatever the hell you're into, because that is part of the venting and release involved in the grand entertainment/distraction cycle. But also, just for shits and giggles, remember that coaches and players used to get to have a lot more fun in the course of helping you have fun. Hell, they used to get the entire bowl season to fart around and play in exhibition games in sunny places where they wore funny hats, got drunk at dinners paid for by shadowy chambers of commerce, and watched their coaches goof around on stage after three or four too many scotches.

    (Bear Bryant even hoisted Gene Stallings up on his shoulders after Stallings beat him in a bowl game once. That Bear Bryant.)

    So if Bo Pelini wants to have some fun at the spring game, you let him. It won't change a thing in the direction of the negative, and might serve as a reminder of the obvious but obviously forgotten-- that this is supposed to be fun, even if you're the often terrifying Bo Pelini. We'd be doing the Rag Top in our living room if Will Muschamp had come out with a cat in his arms at the spring game this past Saturday, and that doesn't even make sense.* It'd be something fun in the face of the ever-present spectre of a firing and people at the gas station asking you when you're going to beat [insert rival school either.]

    You want paid misery, film yourself at work or watch the NFL. You want coaches hoisting cats aloft, well, you're in the right place.

    *Muschamp would probably find a possum, mistake it for a cat, and then adopt it and love it dearly as a family pet because Will is slightly confused about anything that is not football, and because he is actually a really good dude who would just say WELL HE'S OURS NOW, Y'ALL, AND WE GOTTA LOVE HIM.

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    1. Look, there are many delightful things about the Florida spring game. The first is that no one cried. No one decided they hated football, and wanted to stop playing it forever.

    2. No one blocked each other. This was so important to the program, because if there was one thing that absolutely, positively could not happen during the Florida spring game this year, it was one player on the Florida offense blocking another in the course of a play. Players may have made many mistakes on film, but the one that the definitely did not make was reaching out, grabbing a hold of someone's jersey, and finding out that that someone was playing on their side of the ball. Kurt Roper, you are an improvement already.

    3. This being the spring game, the options on defense were fairly limited, and all anyone was watching anyway was the new-look offense. That new-look offense has some of the same concepts as Brent Pease's offense, and that should not send you vomiting into the nearest trash can so stop come back here COURAGE. Courage, dammit.

    4. That offense relies a lot on running basic run plays out of a spread set with the threat of a QB run, or in other words the bulk of what teams not named Alabama or Stanford have been doing in the run game for the past fifteen years or so. Off that, you throw a few play-action passes off the rollout, have a few standard base passing plays you can't get into too much trouble with, and then run the whole thing using a b-back/H-back type to adjust the blocking and run a few pass routes. You run the whole thing fast, get the defense tired, and maybe score points.

    5. That is a novel concept in Big Dumb Will Muschamp football, and this was a spring game, but in Florida's triumphant win over Florida let's be positive, and say nice things? That the offensive line looked coherent, and blocked well? That Ahmad Fulwood, Quinton Dunbar, and Demarcus Robinson caught balls thrown from the hands of quarterbacks, and did not instantly bat them into the air like volleyballs waiting to be caught by giggling DBs? That Jeff Driskel, coming off a broken leg, ran with ease and had a decent-to-good scrimmage?

    6. More importantly, the part of the offense that sort of worked at times over the past two years-- the run game-- looks like it's going to take Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor, and let them work in space? Instead of ramming them into the line, Verdun-style, for four quarters? Oh, that is promising. Both have wiggly hips capable of making linebackers and DBs look palsied in an instant, and getting them one on one in clean space with spread sets could be delightful. Throw in the eight to ten carries Driskel will hopefully get, and you've got a nasty run game that needs only a perfunctory passing game to work well. (And that's how low the bar is right now: PLEASE GIVE US A PERFUNCTORY PASSING GAME, AND WE WILL REJOICE.)

    7. Florida might have a kicker, which with a team in offensive recovery mode will still sadly matter more than it might for most teams.

    8. We repeat: no one blocked each other, cried, or felt like quitting football after watching it. For the first time in seven months, that includes us. When the floor for your football team has bottomed out to such a spectacular depth, even seeing the lights of the basement in a spring game can be called sunrise. (On what, we don't know. But it's better than the last Florida football thing we remember seeing, and we suppose that can be called the lowest form of optimism imaginable.)

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    Okay, Nick. Human picture capture time. Bare teeth. Pull corners of food hole upward with muscular tension. Locate camera with eyes. This play is made with the eyes. Think like a safety. Find the ball!


    Arms--playbook contains no info on arms. Option one: extend across shoulders. Protection issue: FEMALES. Must respect athletes as champions and women. Best to keep arms slack at sides, locate ball, keep food-hole in smile rictus.


    ISSUE: arms may graze lady parts. Playbook consulted with NO SOLUTIONS FOUND. Consult playclock, note that you are already three recruiting calls behind on day. Make mental note in Champions' Log: NO MORE PICTURES OR FACETALKING OUTSIDE OF FOOTBALL OFFICES. Forget all first names to make more disk space for blitzes.


    Arms still awkardly at sides. ISSUE: contact with human flesh made. ADJUSTMENT: hunker shoulders in and find hole in zone. ISSUE: girl is leaning in to make contact. SIGHT ADJUSTMENT: angle body, maintain profile through hole. NOTE: do kidneys help you coach? If not, can coaches function on just one for simplicity and ease of gameplanning to avoid worrying about redundant kidney? Will investigate.


    Picture imminent. Display food hole. Goddammit, I could be recruiting, you wiry little dwarves. ISSUE: TOUCHING. FOUND: NO SIGHT ADJUSTMENTS AVAILABLE. Cancel remaining human engagements for 2014. Order oatmeal creme pies and hide in film room until August.

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    If you somehow believe that amateur sports is not going to be a better place for all the pissing and moaning the press, players, and other advocates/communists are doing, consider what happened yesterday. The NCAA and its partner institutions (the schools, the real people behind all of this) decided that for the first time in amateur athletics history, schools could give athletes as many snacks and as much food as they liked.

    There are a lot of ways to control people. You can control their money, and how they get it. You can control where they live. You can control who they can and can't talk to, and sanction them for that. Finally, you can control the most basic human need of all: what they eat. And as absurd as it may sound, the NCAA to some extent tried to control some aspect of all of those things until yesterday, when they finally conceded after public embarrassment to allowing schools to give players as much food as they liked.

    It's deeply laughable to consider that this even constitutes progress. It's more laughable still that there may have been a person out there who opposed giving players more food while continuing to hold back stipends and additional cash from them. This is why amateur athletics-- and in turn, college football-- has put itself in such a stupid position as to conjure up the real prospect of a players' union. When you act like the company store and beggar over the number of biscuits on the tray, you wake up to an empty mine and picket lines and all that shit that only the worst industries with the lowest regard for human capital have to face.*

    *We repeat: amateur athletics didn't learn the lessons that other businesses learned OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. Fucking. Idiots.

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    Miami put a camera on linebacker Denzel Perryman for the Hurricanes' spring game, and it reminds you of a few things. First, even getting to the running back cutting through a forest of linemen is a horrible, awful, and very hard thing to do. Second, that running back might be gunning straight for your sternum, and that in itself can be as terrifying as losing track of him entirely. Third, that play-action, no matter how dumb and obvious it might look from the comfort of the stands, is devastatingly effective because football played out on a whiteboard is a matter of eleven-on-eleven, and on the field is a matter of individuals trying their best not to be confused or fooled in a maze of burly bodies moving at high speed.

    TL;DR: Football is hard and very confusing for the people playing it. (Via.)

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    Listen to me, Texas:  We are not going to Target for a toy. We are not getting a new toy. We are not going to have Goldfish, because goddammit that's not even food, much less something you can eat in bed. We are not going to go to bed without brushing your teeth.

    We are not competing for a national title this year, Texas.

    Put on your pajamas, Texas. The right way this time. Clean your room, and don't make me say it twice, and take the toothpaste out of your mouth. How much of it did you eat? Half the tube? Are we calling poison control again, just so your mother can hear "He'll either poop it all out or die, and there's nothing we can do about it either way, lady?" We're not going to eat any more toothpaste, or cry from the bedroom about how you need water or socks.

    You are going to wake your baby brother up like that, and Texas A&M over there needs their sleep. He's growing. Rebuilding. Whatever.

    Daddy Charlie is tired. We are not going to the park at 8:30 p.m., because there are teens smoking weed and getting handjobs in it. We are not going to the park, not eating crackers in bed for dinner, and I swear, Texas, we are not going to the national title game this year.

    BUT I WANNA GO TO THE NATIONAL TITLE GAME. Do you pay rent here, son? Do you keep the lights on? Do you think you can just go wherever you want? You can go to San Antonio by yourself, and I'm very proud of that. You got on the plane and everything by yourself! But son, when you're ready, you'll go. And I'm your dad. I love you very much, little Texas.

    But dammit I am the parent here. You are going straight to bed. And you are not going to the national title game. Not now, not this year. Not until you are grown, son.

    And no, I don't care what Grandpa Mack said you could do, or how much candy he let you eat in bed. I don't care. That's why you had all those cavities. We floss in this house and we don't eat candy and we don't do five hours of TV a day while texting Matthew McConnelly or whoever. We're not going to be happy about the Holiday Bowl, we're not going to watch Spongebob on the iPad under the covers after dark, and we're not going to the national title game this year no matter how many times you ask.

    I mean, you can't even beat Uncle Art in a game of---

    [/Uncle Art goes to a national title game]


    Anyway, get back in bed, kid. No, I'm not going to snuggle with you. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you what you want to hear. You get one story book tonight, my pick. It's called 4-3 Under Playbook 2014. It's a great story. Try to have it memorized by breakfast. Which won't be McDonald's. I know Grandpa Mack took you to McDonalds every morning. I don't care. I'm your real dad now, and you're eating steel cut oatmeal and eggs from now on. Win a few games, and we'll start talking Egg McMuffins. You eat that stuff every morning, pretty soon BYU's running for 300 yards on your fat ass.

    But we are not going to McDonalds' anytime soon, Texas. And we are not going to the national title game.

    0 0


    Chris Fowler is the best person at his job at anything in any profession, and this includes neurosurgery. You say, oh, that's a difficult thing to prove, because neurosurgery is really hard, but we ask this: has Chris Fowler left a body on the table recently, shrugging his shoulders and saying, "I dunno, it's a brain, shit happens"?* The answer is no, and that means his failure rate is way better than yours, Mr. Smartass I-Spent-Fifteen-Years-In-College.

    *Lou Holtz, however, has, and it's a matter of ongoing litigation.

    Fowler could finish his career at ESPN after signing a nine year deal extended through 2023, and will not only host Gameday this season, but also double up by taking the prime Saturday night spot for ABC's marquee matchup. This is a good thing for several reasons, the foremost being Fowler's talent as a play-by-play man. Anyone who watches Thursday night games with the abandon of a life-avoiding fiend knows he calls games exactly like he works Gameday: with fearsome research, a light touch on patter, and the easy hand of a coordinator between the broadcast, his producers, and his on-air partners. You hardly notice he's there until you want him to get loud, which he does happily before fading back into information mode.*

    *As a pivot point for a broadcast, only Ernie Johnson, Jr. might be better, albeit under very different circumstances as Chuck-wrangler. He's disgustingly good at his job, and watching just a few minutes of The NBA on TNT confirms it every night during the playoffs. Apropos of nothing, he's also a freakishly nice person in real life.

    That last bit about getting loud might be the most important, because Chris Fowler also still manages to pull off the hardest trick of them all after all these years: he seems like he enjoys not only his job, but what is happening on the field. That's an important difference to make between him and Musburger, who clearly enjoyed the job of being Brent Musburger, but wasn't always the most interested in the particulars of the live game. We have no idea how, but Fowler still conveys a real joy in the thing beheld while also doing his job. That's no small feat in any context.

    Maybe it's that we also remember him looking like everyone else at the end of Texas/Texas Tech 2008, too. Whatever. We're glad he's going to be around, is the point, to feel the pain of fans everywhere, including Clemson fans. Especially Clemson fans, actually.

    0 0

    YO Y TU


    Fortunately, this is not a joke, and is reportedly what the Big 12 and Pac-12 want to do, most likely for the very different reasons of a.) Larry Scott want to play football anywhere because he is a nakedly insane futurist, and b.) because people in the Big 12 want cheap pharmaceuticals not available over the counter in the United States. Not anyone in particular. But just, yanno, someone. Someone most definitely not looking for powerful Chinese boner pills on the cheap, and at a fraction of what he pays Steve at the Nitro Sheetz store for 'em.

    But what this really means is that we are all going on a road trip to Mexico, and that the Charles Portis-style fiasco that ensues will be the greatest college football story ever told. Ideally, it would involve the two most raucous fanbases traveling at their most foolhardy across land, and there you are, Washington State and West Virginia. It's decided. Leach v. Holgo in a defense-free firefight in the middle of Estadio Azteca. You'll be astonished at how many Mexicans show up to watch.*

    *Promo flyers advertise not a football game, but instead a defenseless Landon Donovan tied to a pole surrounded by bags of urine.

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