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  • 08/28/14--08:00: THE BIG COUNTRY/RUN
  • I WOULDN'T LIVE THERE IF YOU PAID ME TO

    From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

    I. THE BIG COUNTRY

    There is a stretch of I-64 West between St. Louis and Iowa City, Iowa. It measures 255 miles from spot to spot on a map and takes eight years to cross in a vehicle traveling at any speed. Moving north out of St. Louis you pass out of the city and into farms and a landscape of shaved patches of farmland. It resembles a collection of long burial plots for recently murdered giants.

    At some point it breaks away from the interstate and becomes US 61 and you ride through Iowa and there is just jack shit in all directions, long farmy blights dotted with aluminum sheds and places to buy aluminum sheds. You can't drive fast enough through it and go any faster: the landscape sucks away at the wheels of your car, and the air dulls the grip of tires on the pavement. A burst of trees around the interstate means a river is approaching. Every one of them has the ominous beauty of a place you would find a body floating in the water while fishing one morning.

    This is where my brother's in-laws live. They are nice and religious and normal and eat together and pray before meals. When the in-laws asked my nephew what he was thankful to God for, he squeezed up his face into a confused expression and told them: pffft, there isn't a God. The conclusion, looking out the window at the plains, would be absolute either way: either he exists, or he doesn't, and there's not much in between.

    Highway 61 was so boring and endless it made its own time dilation bubble. I had to listen to a jumbo-sized Howard Stern interview with Billy Joel to get halfway to Iowa City. I hate Billy Joel, but I swear it was the only option on the radio that didn't crackle and die after an hour, and it was just him somewhere in a studio in the crowded rat warren of the New York metropolitan area moaning on and on about how he couldn't write, and would rather be working on motorcycles in the vanity repair shop he opened for the expressed purpose of losing money and working on motorcycles, and how Howard would just play snippets of "Vienna" and go oh why aren't you making music, and...this. A three hour interview of Billy Joel talking to Howard Stern about how bored he is of life and living it is total fucking horror, and it was still preferable to the silence.

    After seventeen hours of driving, Iowa City decided to appear. A hundred thousand people had assembled in the middle of the country for Ohio State/Iowa that day in the middle of the country where there is nothing on the radio to hear but echoes of what someone is mumbling one thousand miles away.

    The first college football game involved 23 male college students playing a game that looked a lot like rugby. It was really, really long ago-- longer than you even think. It was four years after Appomattox. Jesse James wouldn't even commit his first robbery until December in Gallatin, Missouri later that year. 1869 was so long ago that the ceremony honoring the ancient Rutgers players who played in the first college football game took place in 1921. The last survivor of the game died in 1939. He was named, appropriately enough, George H. Large.

    If one of the players fell on the field and onto a stray nail, they might die a horrendous death from tetanus. If a rabid stray dog ran onto the field in the middle of the game and attacked a player, that player stood a very good chance of dying. Broken bones killed. Medicine itself could do the same, and often stumbled to diagnoses of football fatalities like "[he] was tackled, and when he fell a weed entered his nostril and penetrated the brain, causing death a few hours later" with a straight face. "Unknown cause" accounted for 17% of all deaths in the United States in 1900. Murder, in all likelihood, was much easier to get away with in the 19th century.*

    *Animal attacks seem deeply undercounted here. Railroad accidents are their own category.

    Rutgers' players wore no special uniforms. In order to distinguish themselves from the Princetonians they wore scarlet scarves on their heads. Try to figure out what they were doing from the descriptions on field, and you will lose save for the vague inclination that

    a.) the players instinctively formed the flying wedge, not so much out of any real strategy but out of a survival instinct unchanged since the days of the Roman Phalanx

    b.) Rutgers was smaller, but better organized, and won against a larger, more talented Princeton team. The 2003 BCS Title Game, but played with syphilis and consumption and in the freezing cold of New Jersey rather than the balmy breezes of Miami.

    c.) Jim Tressel would have been a hell of a prehistoric football coach.

    Rutgers won 6-4. A Rutgers professor, upon seeing the carnage of the game, screamed at the participants: You will come to no Christian end!

    Some friends of mine once drove the whole length of I-10 between Florida and Arizona just to watch Florida lose. They stayed up drinking coffee like idiots who did not drink coffee, because they were 18 and too broke for cocaine but not desperate enough for methamphetamine. They ordered it black from McDonald's and drove at 90 miles per hour through the wastes of West Texas and Arizona to go scalp tickets with food money, rent money, money meant for other things. That money flew from their pockets like so many bugs speeding towards the buzzing purple light of a football game.

    When they got there Nebraska annihilated Florida 62-24. I was there and heard Jacquez Green's hip pop out of joint with a noise like that of deboning a chicken. I flew back with the band. My friend and his friends drove back the whole length of the country, measuring their gas to the ounce and having a lovely conversation with a Texas State Trooper about how fast one should speed through Cormac McCarthy country. Their proposition was somewhere around 94 miles per hour; his counterargument, one enforced by local law, was one significantly lower.

    There are others.

    A Florida fan once crashed his plane in a tree outside Starkville and still made the game--for a loss. Another friend flew from Russia to watch Georgia Tech play, and lose, and then flew straight back to Russia.  During the Depression people who barely had the money for basic amenities piled onto flatbeds and bumped down despicable roads to make the Red River Rivalry in Dallas, where they ate fried whatever and scalped tickets they had no business buying just to sit in the stadium beneath the boiling sun and the erector set spotlights of the Cotton Bowl. Recessions never seem to cut into the ticket budget; depressions just become an opportunity to carpool and meet new people.

    Sense has never made a dent in how people fuck, drink, or watch football. They are inelastic ghosts with tin ears and large, bellowing mouths.

    It is a huge game, and it is played along the long distances of strange historical songlines. You have to go 394 miles and drive for six hours to get from Austin to Lubbock along US 84, a road partially based on the old El Camino Real, the corridor to Mexico based on old Native American trails. To get to the Rose Bowl from downtown L.A. you follow an old cattle trail now paved over with a highway, and Florida State plays football in Tallahassee, a town constructed at a spot simply because that's where two surveyors met to form the capital of the territory of Florida.

    When the Colorado/Nebraska rivalry resumes in 2018, it will happen along I-80, a road built along the still-visible traces of the Oregon Trail running parallel to to the highway.  Take any of the highways over the Rockies to get to a game, feel the wind kick your car around the ice just before they close the passes, and think to yourself: some insane motherfucker with a gun on a mule did this without a cellphone or rest stop in sight.

    The last reasonable man in the history of college football was Andrew Dickson White, the Cornell president who forbade a group of 40 students to travel to Michigan, saying "I refuse to let 40 of our boys travel 400 miles merely to agitate a bag of wind." Everyone else, from that point forward, forgot all sense and let people cross whatever irrational distance they wanted to in the name of football.

    And even if you cheat and skip the highway and fly over the long sprawl of irrigation circles, subdivisions, and the quilty pixeled landscape of college football, you still have to get there. And there, by definition, can be odd, quaint, small, rural, or flat hillbilly, depending on where you are, and what your standards of oddity are. Kansas State has cows within line of sight of the stadium. Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech looks and feels like stumbling onto a lost set from a Peter Jackson film: gray limestone piled into a turreted fortress teeming with hunting gear-clad bear-men slamming turkey legs into their mouths. Notre Dame Stadium is as alien a landscape as there is in college football, a party in a mausoleum with wooden benches surrounded by what reasonably feels like a seminary. Baton Rouge is everything that haunted John Kennedy Toole's worst nightmares. Leave your laptop in a bag in Stillwater, and someone has already chased you three blocks up the street to give it back to you. Go to Boulder and realize you have done something very wrong to not be there all the time, and to not look like the people there, and do the healthy, fit, virtuous and cheerful things they do.*

    *Going to Boulder is realizing you are now, by making all the choices you have made in your life, part of the problem forever.

    Football started in the incubator of the northeast, went feral, and ran until it hit the West Coast, fanned back, and filled whatever lay in between. It became the sport of the in-between parts of the country. By 1926 its axes had already shifted to different, strange coordinates thousands of miles from New Jersey. Alabama plays under the symbol of a set of luggage they took across the country in 1926 in the Rose Bowl. They would play strange Californians from Stanford in a 7-7 tie. The trip was 2,000 miles by train to Pasadena. The symbol on their luggage: a red elephant from Rosenberger's Birmingham Trunk, Inc.

    It is a big country, and the very language of college football comes from moving across it.

    II. RUN

    You may have grown up somewhere. I did not. I never had that feeling, even when I did grow up in a definite somewhere. This isn't anyone's fault: there is a default switch somewhere in the human brain that makes people feel at home, like there is safety. It's pressed into the "on" position at birth for most people, and turned off and on at will by people who can move around in life without much trauma.

    Mine is broken. It would be so very, very cool if epigenetics worked like I wanted it to, and this was a video game, and in that video game I was a lowly office worker with the genes of an ancient race of loyal assassins. My switches are set to one setting: run. On one side of the family, for generations back, there are no me. There are bootleggers and horse trainers and people whose name in the family tree is spelled with a question mark. Once I asked my grandmother about her father, and her father's father. Contrary to what you might hear, you can outrun history. Both my great-grandfather and his father sprinted off the page completely, and into oblivion before my grandmother could make a single print of their faces. Every house feels like a coffin to me, but at least I came by that feeling honestly.

    My father did well enough. After a childhood spent in barns and racetracks and driving cars he had no license for through the streets of Miami when he was fourteen, he got married, had children, and kept them safe and fed and mostly schooled. He stuck around until all the kids got out of the house, but still moved us every two years or so. The company wanted him to move, he'd say, but he was always willing to shuffle back and forth between the same cities, buying houses so quickly that we once bought the same house twice to just save the time of home-shopping. Even after he'd gotten to be an executive, he kept the family moving: he once moved the family between three houses in six years at one point, all while never leaving the same town.

    I always ask where he is now. This is not to make small talk. This is so I know where he is, because it is very, very easy to lose track of him, and because one day someone's going to have to send a search party out to his last known location in order to find him. (I hope you are reading this, Dad, because I have the hounds and am ready.)

    So if I ended up at one point in life incapacitated in a Chinese hospital in Kunming, China, it came to me honestly. I fell asleep watching Chinese state television, and dreamed I was walking up a road like the one leading up to a monastery outside Zhongdian. Walking up the road took dream-time: impossibly long, cinematic, and into a spitting sunshower like you get in high, dry places with random, infuriating weather. The dream was entirely POV; I remember distinctly looking down at my hands like I was sitting in a first-person shooter.

    The monastery has a central temple, the white wedding cake of a Tibetan monastery with steps cut into its sides. The golden roof curves against the sky. Monks carry baskets up the stairs, walking in a zigzag across and up the steps to alleviate the load on their legs. The rain stops, then starts again, and then chokes out completely as a cloud blows off and unveils the sun like a curtain blown off a searchlight.

    At the top of the stairs stands Steve Spurrier, wearing the yellow hat and red robes of a Tibetan lama, grinning like he'd just called Mills for an eighty yard TD.

    Then I woke up, and saw my wife sitting next to me reading.

    You are not your genes but sometimes there is this thing that makes me want to put my head to the wall of the world's engine and listen to the live current whirring around inside it. The need to move, to feel everything as something as alien as I feel all the time, to go as far as I can away from the concept of home and thus feel something like a normality. To make a fact of the imaginary world where you are something comfortable, and something content.

    This would rule everything I've ever done if it weren't for the nagging complication of being someone to someone else, someone more human. I'm told that person exists, even though I barely talk to him. He is the one who doesn't drive alone in rental cars through the American West for fun, the one badgered into making doctor's appointments for himself after years of procrastination. He is the one who only occasionally catches the house on fire while making coffee in the morning, and turning on Octonauts for the kids while making breakfast. He is the one who watches football on the couch in a somewhere, a definite somewhere with definite someones, somewhere that could definitely be construed as a home.

    For a long time I used to run. It's not something healthy people do, really, since most runners are channeling something else away from their lives into motion: addiction, compulsion, loss. You might not, and that's great. Either you're lying to yourself or you're the only human being who ever ran for the right reasons. I ran because I was convinced I was damned, and running from the long arm of doom itself. I ran because it was cheaper and easier to manage than drinking yourself into the same state.

    The idea is to get the same result: washed up in the middle of nowhere, blasted and hopeless and blank on beach with nothing more than the tattered shards of your brain in your hands. I swear, if you are the kind of person who wakes up with a hole in your chest every morning, there is nothing, absolutely nothing better than this feeling. It is glorious. It's not just that you've killed yourself and gotten away with it. It's the notion that you've destroyed even the ability to separate from yourself and the environment, and dismantled the entire apparatus of observation.

    If the Mars Rover took itself apart spontaneously, I would understand. It would just be doing what it wanted most of all: not to watch the sunrise over a Martian plain, but to be that sunrise. I'd understand, Mars Rover. I would so understand what you were trying to do.

    Last night Georgia State won their first game since October 13th, 2012. Be clear about this: Georgia State is a very bad football team. They deserved and earned every single loss, and very nearly deserved one last night. Abilene Christian is a better put-together football team, but suffers from the usual problems of being smaller, not quite as fast, and slightly less huge than their opponent. That's another place where the long arm of doom will, in most cases, happily steal away what it by natural right can: bigger crushes smaller, and heavy rolls downhill over the shanties of the world without pity or mercy.

    Georgia State, like the majority of football programs in a lopsided sport, is doomed to walk the earth and lose. They will lose so many games, in so many places, and in such grotesque, uneven fashion. But last night they won, and their kicker fell prostrate on the logo at the fifty under the stretched fabric of a dome that will, in all likelihood, be rubble in a few years. It is not a stretch to say that every gleeful moment from last night will literally be demolished by bulldozers, time, and the invisible hands of mustachioed billionaires.

    Gast_1.0.0_standard_783.0_medium

    And then, after that, I got to go home. This morning the other guy--the one who doesn't want to run-- woke up and found the same woman from the hospital in his kitchen holding a cup of coffee with a toddler clinging to her leg. The lama from the dream coaches a football team tonight. I do not think he will be wearing the hat, but you never know.

    I honestly don't know at what point the two people in my head meet. The older I get the less division there is between dream and reality, less of a huge divide between waking and sleep, and less concern about reconciling the two. I still love to drive into the middle of nowhere and see the desert that sits somewhere in my chest reflected in my eyes in the landscape around me. I also know that in the middle of all that nothing there is something waiting with floodlights and deafening noise, thousands of people huddling in the spaces in between in snow, rain, howling winds, heat, sun, and cold. I know that there are two people writing this at all times, and both have something they call home.

    I know that I live somewhere between the two spaces. I know that it is a big country, and its sport is played out in the ceaseless damned wandering across it in so many different definitions of the phrase.  I hope you know it is an unfair game with no Christian end.  I hope that even with knowing that, you don't care. I hope it still takes you home somewhere. I hope you get to wander the big country, and I hope it still stops something in your heart when you see it.

    I hope it still makes you want to run.

    Thanks to Luke Zimmermann for the GIFs


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    THE BEST PERFORMANCE BY FLORIDA IN A LONG TIME BRINGS HOPE TO GATOR NATION

    A review by unit:

    OFFENSE: A++++++

    No fumbles, no interceptions, no plays for a loss, and not even a single punt on the night. Jeff Driskel appeared comfortable at the line, leading the offense to their best performance in years. Efficient, error-free, and perfect are strong words, but they are reasons for hope for fans longing for something like offensive competence for the Gators in 2014.

    DEFENSE: A++++++

    Didn't allow a yard all night, and kept Idaho scoreless. Failed to generate any turnovers, but that's an area of focus for next week's coaching.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: A+++++++

    Valdez Showers' opening kickoff return was truly the play of the game.

    OVERALL: A+++++++++++

    As perfect a performance as could be expected from Will Muschamp's 2014 squad, and certainly a satisfying one.


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    All we know about the College Football Playoff right now are that many teams are in the running for it and that all of them are in grave danger.

    An instantaneous survey of five teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff's four spots at this very moment, plus the biggest threats looming for each. Be advised: these have nothing to do with the preseason Top 25 polls. If you get mad about this, you will be pointed to the previous sentence.

    FLORIDA STATE

    FSU could be the classic overextension of a franchise without the supporting cast members who made the original edition so great.

    Without Kelvin Benjamin, they doubled down on Rashad Greene, who caught 11 passes for 203 yards against Oklahoma State. Timmy Jernigan wasn't there to collapse the pocket, allowing J.W. Walsh far too much time to keep the Cowboys in the game. You got a tremendous amount of Jameis Winston, and like most overstressed characters he delivered less with more. He appeared to be pressing, throwing two interceptions to one touchdown.

    But they won, 37-31, and did so while playing someone. (A someone who looked entirely capable of winning every other game it plays.)  Florida State needs secondary characters to emerge and needs them badly, but the basic framework is still there. Running the ball for more than 3.4 yards a carry? Yes, this seems like a plot point that would help, too.

    Threats: Clemson, in theory? Yes, the Seminoles do play Clemson, and in theory they could lose to Clemson, a team that just spent a night facedown smelling the turf of Sanford Stadium in a loss to Georgia. Louisville is on a Thursday night on the road, and represents the greatest threat of a loss in between. Notre Dame is also lurking there, and looked lively enough in blowing out Rice in their opener. The rest of FSU's schedule is an ACC schedule, and that is not meant to be a compliment to anyone.

    TEXAS A&M

    It is so early, but you have to balance the idea of projecting out a team's value against the little you know.

    The Aggies look capable of flat-out destruction.

    We know Texas A&M looked capable of scoring 70 against South Carolina on the road in that 52-28 Mongol romp. We know the Aggies' schedule features only two road games of note, Alabama and Auburn, and that for very different reasons A&M presents hairy challenges for both. We know Kenny Hill has wideouts to throw to -- giant, speedy wideouts who make you wonder what recruiting tape your coaching staff hasn't been watching that only Texas A&M has.

    The Aggies look capable of flat-out destruction. If that means letting you have 39 points to their 63, so be it. They have enough explosives to leave a bigger crater than you can.

    Threats: Both Alabama and Auburn, their two toughest road games, are games A&M has won under Kevin Sumlin (albeit a 2012 shell of the current Tigers). LSU, which comes to College Station for the season finale, is a different case, having beaten the Aggies twice in physical, bruising fashion. It's okay: Les Miles has that effect on a lot of people, Aggies. Ask Wisconsin, for instance.

    ALABAMA

    You'll have to assume a few things to make this exercise even sort of work. For instance, you have to assume that teams in Week 1 represent mere babies, shadows of what they could become.

    Remember last year when Alabama struggled to 206 yards of total offense against Virginia Tech? Not the case today, as Lane Kiffin -- ESPN cam devoted to him and all -- worked 33 points, 30 first downs, and 538 yards of total offense out of his first effort. Yes, against West Virginia, a terrible defense in 2013, but production is production, and it's certainly better than South Dakota's defense against Oregon, for instance. (We think.)

    You have to assume that you can eke any meaning out of this, and by extension the following: that an outstanding second half defensively shows Alabama can deal with hurry-up spread attacks in 2014, and that the Kiffin experiment will work nicely as long as he has Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon to slam into opposing defenses. Those assumptions aren't as crazy as they sounded in the offseason, and that's good enough for a spot here.

    Threats: Only three of them, but they are a hellacious three. Texas A&M comes to Tuscaloosa and seems entirely capable of savaging Alabama's secondary. LSU seems fully operational after a confounding Les Miles Special against Wisconsin. And Auburn is right there at the end in the Iron Bowl, just waiting with an entire year's supply of horseshoes in their asses.

    GEORGIA

    Maybe the dodgiest pick on here over all and HEY HEY HEY STOP THERE ARE GOOD REASONS FOR THIS. Running backs Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb looked like burly gods against Clemson in a 45-21 blowout of the Tigers. That is very exciting, and you should be excited about that.

    Now here is why you should temper that excitement. Clemson, under suspicion of entering a rebuilding year, is now clearly past that and into some kind of tear-down to get mold out of the walls. Cole Stoudt looked lost at QB, and the defense had no ability to control the line of scrimmage. Clemson needs six or seven games to just iron out its depth chart, much less get anywhere near the standard Dabo Swinney has built it up to.

    That said, Georgia has two astonishing running backs, a mollywhopping offensive line, and a defense still learning a new system that will likely only improve from this point forward. That's a lot to be very optimistic about, and that's before you remember that your optimism is tempered by saying that bitter rival Clemson isn't very good.

    See, Bulldog fans? Rationalism is a form of trash talk after all.

    Threats: South Carolina looked lifeless against Texas A&M, so consider the Gamecocks to be the most dangerous threat imaginable on September 13, because that's how South Carolina football under Steve Spurrier works. Two physical road games at Arkansas and Missouri in October in consecutive weeks aren't so bad separately, but combined add up to a tough midseason crux for the Bulldogs.

    Javorius Allen. Harry How, Getty

    USC

    Yes, that's three SEC teams out of four spots, and with reason: the SEC scheduled conference games early, and the Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12 did not.

    This leaves out-of-conference matchups for everyone else, and those were largely inconclusive or bad in result. Clemson and Wisconsin lost to a pair of those SEC teams. UCLA struggled with Virginia, a sentence that should give every Bruins fan the poop shivers. Penn State barely beat a retooling UCF team in an Irish soccer stadium. Ohio State struggled mightily with Navy. But Michigan played Appalachian State and won! We're all maturing and getting better every damn day, Brady Hoke.

    It was hard to look around and find a team that wasn't openly coasting, but there you are, USC, dropping half a hundred on retooled defending Mountain West champion Fresno State and tallying 37 first downs and 701 yards in your first game under a new head coach. The 52-13 margin was 14 points wider than what the Trojans beat the Bulldogs by in their bowl last year.

    For that, USC would be first out if the Playoff were held next week. (Which it is not.) (But feel free to freak out about this anyway.)

    Threats: Coming fast! USC goes to Stanford next week, where they'll face a Cardinal team that's beaten them in four of their last five matchups. A trip to Arizona and across town to UCLA could be grueling for a team that still has some depth issues.

    Teams in the waiting room

    LSU, though no one including science can tell you how or why they won their game against Wisconsin.

    Michigan State, who plays Oregon next week in Eugene.

    Oregon, because (see previous entry).

    Auburn, which produced 595 yards against Arkansas despite starting its backup quarterback.

    Oklahoma, because a win against a Skip Holtz team can't possibly get you anywhere in life or imaginary polling.

    Notre Dame, if it's so lopsidedly dominant we have no choice but to put it in the pool.

    This also overlooks Baylor and whatever it will do Sunday night against SMU, because Week 1's schedule is drawn out forever.


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  • 09/01/14--07:37: HAPPY LABOR DAY
  • ENJOY THE FRUITS OF THE OPEN MARKET

    If you don't have to work on a specific day, you should definitely not work that day. That's our attitude towards Labor Day, where you, the Great American Worker, gets an excuse to not work, spend time with your families and friends, and definitely not work before watching Louisville/Miami tonight. We'll be back tomorrow, and so will Hatin' Ass Spurrier.*

    *Like you could keep him away.


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  • 09/02/14--06:03: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 9/2/2014
  • PIRATE LES IS ALL TOO FAMILIAR WITH YOUR SEAS OF CHEESE

    SAIL THE SEAS OF CHEESE AT YOUR OWN RISK, WISCONSIN. Melvin Gordon did have a hip flexor injury limiting his play in the second half of Wisconsin's astonishing 27-24 collapse against LSU, but the physical only explains so much in life.

    Lesseasofcheese_medium

    You thought the one place you would be safe was on the seas of cheese, Wisconsin. And you were oh so wrong about that.

    AL GOLDEN'S SHIRT FILLS WITH HELIUM, SOARS INTO THE DISTANCE. Good morning, Miami football. Remember when a coach could hop atop the Howard Schnellenberger Dade County Recruiting Tank, slam the accelerator down, and hope for at least a national title or two, even with Dennis Erickson or Larry Coker at the helm? When they might not go 1/13 on third down against a Louisville team just breaking in a new offense and defense?

    Those were fantastic days, days when one might not openly guess at the exact cost of a coach's wardrobe as a form of critique.

    We mean, Dockers are at least $40, easy.

    RELEVANT TO GHOSTS OF MIAMI PAST. Larry Coker invented a football team, one that beat the hide off Houston after a long path that included one year of practicing six days a week without playing a single game.

    THEY DID MISS A DOMINANT PERFORMANCE AGAINST IDAHO. The three Florida players suspended for the Idaho game will play against Eastern Michigan because Will Muschamp is a hard mean disciplinarian.

    DR BO AND MISTER WALLACE. The Numerical uses hard numbers to show what you know already: that Bo Wallace always plays two games, and one of them will make Ole Miss fans want to drink rubbing alcohol. For sheer terror, check out USC's numbers. Yes, that's Cody Kessler at the helm, the same Cody Kessler that played last year.

    ETC: It's important to take time out for the important things in life, even when fleeing the police.


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    Remember The Alphabetical? That was so hard to write, and if you're going to write something 15 times a year, you either have the choice of your sanity or simplification. Here's to emptying the college football notebook in a loosely thematic form. It kind of has to do with AC/DC.

    Satan

    When nothing else works, this album makes me want to live, even if it is a colossal monument to brave, loud stupidity. It's dumb, huge, and perfect, and -- yes, we're talking about college football here, and this'll do as a soundtrack. It's reprehensibly stupid at times, totally irresponsible at others, uneven, loud, and please turn it up. We are asking you very nicely to turn it up so the nice man can yell about shooting to thrill and how Satan is calling for you and how we've learned nothing after the death of our lead singer whatsoever.

    Learning nothing whatsoever. Repeating the same mistakes over and over again. That's the idea here, especially in the first week of a very young college football season.

    • For instance, Miami still remains an uneven mess, and Bobby Petrino can still solder together a good offense in a matter of months.
    • USC is just as talented as you suspected they were, releasing about a year and a half of pent-up frustration in one game against Fresno State. Points do roll over from year to year in the Pac-12, and the Trojans used all of them at once in a binge that should horrify anyone in the conference.
    • As in 2013, Alabama doesn't have a secondary of note. The Tide will still have to rely on their offense to bail them out. Lane Kiffin, an average head coach at best, is still a capable coordinator when you just let him worry about one side of the ball. (And he is still gloriously surly.)
    • Florida State, like most returning champions, did in fact lose something when experienced people left and were replaced with less-experienced people.
    • The same can be said for South Carolina, but with drastically different results thanks to another constant: Texas A&M under Kevin Sumlin can and will score a thousand points if you don't bury its quarterback under his own linemen.

    One week both proves a lot and a little. The good news: the things that you liked about Team X are still probably true. The bad news is that the bad things are likely true. They may have gotten worse. It's a long con and a mean one, but there's no reason not to accelerate as hard as you can into that skid. You might crash in a ball of flames, but you just might come out of it in perfect position for the rest of the season, too.

    Hill

    Kenny, who is both a cause and a symptom of an ongoing outbreak in the SEC West and beyond. A&M's Hill is really, really good at quarterbacking. He threw for 511 yards, three TDs, and showed so much poise he scared his own offensive coordinator. ("Creepy" was the exact word Jake Spavital used.)

    He is also illustrating just how inadequate a depth chart is in describing what a team will look like to your naked eye. Sure, you saw Ricky Seals-Jones listed at 6'5, 225. But did you realize what that would look like on the hoof, running with shocking fluidity through the Carolina defensive backfield? Did you know how hard you'd laugh when you saw Cameron Clear, an offensive lineman masquerading as a receiver, catch a ball? The scouting reports said he was fast, and his name is Speedy, but the reality of how much turf Speedy Noil can scorch with the ball in his hands trumps whatever you read on CreepyRecruitingGuyIsWatchingYouSleep.com or whatever.

    A&M has talent, but watching the Aggies in a system where they all understand their roles is half the beauty here. They leveled South Carolina with execution, precision, and speed, the kind of auto-pilot you get when conscious thought has been erased altogether. It's the absolute worst when coaching cliches become true, but it's here: they knew what they were doing, were comfortable in it, and that's how you translate Texas zen into 39 first downs and one of the worst beatings of Steve Spurrier's career.

    Watching Texas A&M is like watching the world's most dangerous yoga class move through poses. Just breathe. The points score themselves.

    P.S. It should also be noted how brilliant Jake Spavital's playcalling for a young QB was: passing on run downs, running on pass downs, and calling it all to get Hill easy completions and into a rhythm early. Petrino did the same thing on Monday night with Will Gardner for Louisville, and Kiffin did the same for Blake Sims. Smart people, just staying smart year-to-year.

    P.P.S. Think it had to be fun for Sumlin after the game to shake hands with Spurrier, who called Sumlin "a good negotiator" this offseason?

    Do you think Sumlin and the Aggies really rubbed it in by dancing in the locker room for 10 hours to "Sandstorm" after the game? You can't prove they didn't. You simply can't.

    Opulence

    Comfort is a luxury, but it's earned. For instance, Alabama clearly experienced a deep and familiar discomfort watching West Virginia do much of what Oklahoma did to the Tide in the Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers worked the Bama corners; they spread them out to run the ball; Clint Trickett got off to a hot start, and a thousand houndstooth boxer briefs prepared for a powerful self-soiling in the Georgia Dome.

    Which is weird, because given Bama's depth, money, and overall resources, there is no reason not to just get dumb and dare West Virginia to try and keep up with the horsepower. This is precisely what Alabama did in the end, sticking with the run and parading T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry through the line, rushing for 288 yards, controlling the clock, and setting up Sims for easy play-action completions. (Including a laugher of a drop by Christion Jones that would have changed the complexion of what was at the time a close game.)

    After the game, Saban said of his OC, "The guy’s a really good coach, now. Y’all need to fess up to that." That is true, and in no way did Kiffin move Alabama away from its natural, luxurious advantages. They relied on that power imbalance, and did what Alabama fans screamed at departed coordinator Doug Nussmeier to do for most of his tenure: run the damn baaawwwlll. The last time Kiffin had two backs this talented to play with was 2005, by the way, when he had Reggie Bush and LenDale White. If you want to aggravate irrational expectations for this offense, that thought will certainly do it for you.

    The one place Alabama has to budget now is on pass defense, the specialty of the coach who might need the most criticism, if you're into yelling at Ferraris about their lack of efficient fuel economy. The guy who designs those for Alabama is Nick Saban. This is 2014, and for one week at least, Kiffin outperformed the best coach of our era. Alabama is going to have to embrace what it became last year: a team reliant on its ground game and offensive line to score down the stretch, create play-action opportunities, and win high-scoring games.

    It's a profligate way to win, but aristocrats can afford it.

    (Psssst: if that sounds a lot like Auburn, well, it should. Because it's accurate in principle, if not style. This section suggested Saban has not gotten his secondary read, and also said Alabama and Auburn were more similar in strategy than you might think. We are banned from Alabama and Hogville.net now, and have no regrets.)

    And oh: they look so happy together already.

    Overkill

    Another great tradition of opening weekend.

    Nebraska had 498 yards of rushing offense against hapless Florida Atlantic. Oklahoma put up a leisurely 48 points on Louisiana Tech. Baylor lost starting quarterback Bryce Petty halfway through the game and still rolled 574 yards of offense out like it was rehearsal time. (SMU had 67 yards offense in response. June Jones is already retired.) Even Memphis -- Memphis football! -- scored 63 points on Austin Peay.

    The only story involving an FCS team not named North Dakota State that might draw serious note: Texas Tech, a team that should have put up 1,000 yards on Central Arkansas, struggled with CAU in a 42-35 shootout. If the Bears don't seem totally foreign to you, there is internet reason: they're the ones with the eye-melting striped field.

    Otherwise, more than a dozen games involved margins of victory over 40 points. The most shocking, even though it fell just short of 40? Historically deplorable UAB winning 48-10 over Troy. Don't forget that in the hustle out of a six-day college football weekend. Larry Blakeney's team lost to a team whose head coach left to become an offensive coordinator in the ACC in the offseason.

    Tribulation

    What you don't want to do is ignore signs of obvious stress pointing to season-long malaise and a possible offseason armageddon. For instance:

    • Miami cannot block, at all, in most football situations on offense or defense. Their primary offensive threat is running back Duke Johnson, who needs some blocking. That is not a temporary problem. That is very bad for Al Golden's long-term prospects, even though Brad Kaaya looked about as good as a young starter could look if you totally forget Kenny Hill exists.
    • UCLA struggled on the road against Virginia. UVA is not a very good team, and UCLA should have paved them in two quarters of easy work. The problem there is the same: bad o-line play. The solution is to either have an opponent literally hand your defense two or three defensive touchdowns or improve quickly before conference play. The first only happens when you play UVA. Might want to look into the second option.
    • Boise State had no one to stretch the field in the passing game, allowing Ole Miss' defense to hammer short routes. This is the plan to beat Boise, and if you can stop the run game, it's over early for the Broncos.
    • On the other side of that matchup, Ole Miss played one of the worst halves of offense I've ever seen in person, as Bo Wallace threw three reprehensible interceptions.
    • Tennessee couldn't run well against an overhauled Utah State, and that might be an issue in a division including Georgia and Florida.
    • Ohio State had to scramble to beat Navy and was mediocre on third down without Braxton Miller. Everyone struggles against the triple-option a bit, but 370 yards of total rushing is more than your average, store-brand struggling.


    Bo Wallace, Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

    Timorous

    There's no time for much panic.

    Miami only has to play the rest of the ACC, which gives ample rehearsal time to improve. UCLA played sleepy and won through the haze of the horrendous west-east commute. Tennessee's defense and passing game were both light years ahead of anything in recent Volunteer history, and Utah State had a top-15 defense last year. (Repeat that in short: Tennessee was a functional, highly competent football team.) Navy's actually pretty good, Ohio State.

    You might be panicking anyway. That is normal. At least you're not Troy or Iowa State.

    Outlawed

    Scheduling the following teams opening weekend:

    • Navy, whose offense is like, literally the worst thing we can think of facing just after fall practice.
    • North Dakota State, an FBS team masquerading as an FCS team that beat Iowa State 34-14 in front of aghast Cyclone fans.
    • Northern Iowa, which annually harasses either Iowa or Iowa State. The Hawkeyes' turn to almost lose was this year.
    • Michigan, which upset Appalachian State 52-14 in Ann Arbor. CAN'T LET THE WOLVERINES HANG AROUND LIKE THAT, MOUNTAINEERS.

    Turnover

    You might be panicking. At least you're not Troy or Iowa State.

    Roster churn always stings, even for the preternaturally gifted of Leon County Football Preparatory School. Florida State showed its losses where they counted against Oklahoma State: along the defensive line, at running back, and at wideout. Without Timmy Jernigan, the front was pushed around by the Cowboys late. Without Devonta Freeman, the run game stalled out just north of a hundred yards for the night. And when the game needed to be decided, FSU still had Rashad Greene and Jameis Winston, but the ensemble feel of 2013 is gone for the moment.

    Not that any of this matters. FSU only has Notre Dame, Clemson, Louisville, and Florida to step over to get a sure shot into the Playoff through the rest of their accommodating ACC schedule.

    This assumes Florida isn't prevented from playing football in 2014 by angry divine lightning storms. This is a live possibility.

    Hiking

    The Clemson Tigers were mashed under by Georgia and Todd Gurley, have serious quarterback issues, and get to play Florida State on September 20.

    Consider hiking. You'd be amazed how fit you'll get walking away from the worst part of a rebuilding year and how much cell reception you won't have walking through the real Death Valley in California. Seventy-plus miles of zero reception! Sweet music to the ears of someone who won't have to watch what happens in Tallahassee or listen to Georgia fans scream, "WE GOT THE NEXT HERSCHEL," for the next four months. (Because they will do this.)

    Hey, we finally joined Facebook!

    Rock

    As in Kid, whom we will find and hurt by the end of the season for that "Born Free" Chevy ad that took the lead in the season's Instantly Loathed And Endlessly Played commercial rankings.

    Impeachable

    USF's 36-31 squeaker over the Western Carolina Catamounts. Western Carolina, a 2-10 team in the SoCon in 2013, dominated much of the game. Texas Tech's struggles with Central Arkansas were bad, but do consider that the Bears went 6-6 on fourth down tries, which makes the Red Raiders' struggles both more and less understandable.

    Syracuse had to go to double overtime to beat Villanova, an FCS school.

    FIU straight up lost to Bethune-Cookman 14-12, though there apparently wasn't a full-time beat reporter there to cover the game, thanks to the school banning the Miami Herald for honestly reporting attendance struggles. This is the second year in a row the Panthers have lost to FCS Bethune-Cookman. These sentences are all related.

    Lording

    Over all he sees, is Todd Gurley.

    Ahhh

    gurley

    AHHHHHHHHH

    gurley

    AAAAAHHHHHHHHH HIDE NO AAAAAAAHAHHHHHHHHH

    gurley

    [/gurgling noises, muffled weeping]

    The worst part is that you will stack eight or nine in the box. When he gets gassed, you will still have to face Nick Chubb, his backup who is made entirely of shark cartilage, jet fuel, and high-grade fast-twitch muscle fiber. And he'll be bright-eyed, bouncy, and waiting to do the work while Gurley rests on the bench.

    Between Alabama and Georgia, SEC defenses are just going to have to pray for fumbles, bad play-calling, and random strikes of NCAA ineligibility.

    Lane County

    The territory that Eugene, Oregon is the seat of, and the scene of the most important game of Week 2, Michigan State-Oregon.

    The SEC will also be playing most of FCS, barring South Carolina playing ECU and Ole Miss going to the Khaki Bowl against Vandy, a game that looks a lot worse after Temple destroyed the Commodores.

    Don't watch the SEC this weekend, at all. Stick to the Pac-12 (USC-Stanford) and the Big Ten (Michigan-Notre Dame, Virginia Tech-Ohio State, and Ball State-Iowa.) (No really: Ball State-Iowa.) (It'll be a pretty good game.)


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    HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE

    "I thought we paid a pretty good tribute to Brad Scott's South Carolina teams on Thursday night."

    "They call it a 3-4 defense in Columbia cause you miss three, maybe four tackles a play, and it adds up to seven in the end."

    "You see that Ole Miss defense? I didn't know Hugh Freeze belonged to a horse-slaughterin' congregation. Pentecostals really are something."

    "Only team that handled Temple worse than Vanderbilt was the moneychangers."

    "Can't say I'm surprised Penn State won that Dublin game. They're used to playin for a crowd that doesn't understand modern football."

    "Dana Holgorsen, getting that kind of penetration in Atlanta is actually why a lot of people go there on weekends."

    "Virginia's state motto is "sic semper tyrannis." Guess that means the UCLA offense was just being democratic."

    "Tough start there for Wake, but they call it the Clawfense because you keep putting dollars in the machine and never win anything."

    "I'd say it's gonna be a long season for Northwestern, but that implies they'll be playing in a bowl."

    "Lane Kiffin's wearing 2XL jackets and winning games in the Georgia Dome. Like lookin' at an alternate universe where everything works out for Tennessee."

    "June Jones' embalmer did a heckuva job."

    "Credit to Baylor, though. Last time I saw that many Baptists running that fast in a group it was towards a Golden Corral."

    "Notre Dame sure looked to be passing pretty easily, didn't they? Though I guess that's what caused the problem in the first place."

    "Maybe Clemson can start a rivalry game with Kentucky."

    "Hope Athens has a good tack store. Todd Gurley's ass'll get sore riding Clemson out of town without a saddle."

    "USC ran 105 plays against Fresno State. I read that on their website, though, so grain of salt and all that."

    "The triple-option is basically a multiple choice test. Surprised that Ohio State football players had a problem with it."

    "Maybe the problem ain't the driver, Washington."

    "Villanova Syracuse? Witsec must be runnin' outta names."

    "USF almost lost to Western Carolina in football. You're only supposed to do that in whittling and hydroponics."

    "Not surprised FSU had trouble running. That's the sort of behavior that raises suspicion at Publix."

    "Don't worry, Iowa State, Kansas lost to North Dakota State, too. Your penis is probably the biggest in a group of third-graders, too."

    "Will Muschamp lost to electricity, which should be expected. It's a 18th century concept. Little new for him, I'd think."

    "I got him as a four TD underdog to the telegraph. Television's off the boards completely."

    "Heard Bret Bielema's accusing Auburn of stealing signs. Always thought he had a catcher's build."

    "Arkansas coaches weren't stuck in the elevator at halftime at Auburn. It was just moving slowly. You know, for safety."

    "A 17 point deficit means nothing to Les Miles. That's how bad Ohio high schools were in the 70s."

    "You look at this Wisconsin team and you wonder what the hell happened to NC State."

    "Les just does everything backwards. When he fights with his wife he throws all his stuff into the windows from the yard."

    "Anybody know if we can get that Tennessee victory into a zoo? The Endangered Species Act ain't a joke, y'all."

    "Well, it ain't called Southern Hit."


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    YOU'RE IN GOOD HANDS, PENN STATE

    DAMMIT, DEREK.

    6d447k_medium

    If Vandy plays like they did against Temple and plays three QBs, Ole Miss has people in the secondary that will maim receivers in a remorseless fashion. Karl Dorrell is their offensive coordinator. They're gonna play three QBs. People will be harmed.

    SADLY LET'S PROVIDE SOME CONTEXT AND RUIN A JOKE. WELL ACTUALLY that policy statement by Ohio State suggesting fans report other fans for standing is slightly misleading. Shelley Meyer says the idea behind the policy is to eject those who are blind drunk and posing a noxious hazard for other fans, and that standing is just one thing in a laundry list of other, far more obstructive and nasty behaviors. If the Big Ten has a moribund fan problem, it does not start at Ohio State, which is loud as hell and full of people very happy to spend most of a game standing even when it's fucking freezing and you really might want to curl up and give into sweet hypothermic death.

    We do think there should be an old Alumni section in every stadium for those who don't want to stand, by the way. It can have its own unsalted food and everything. You judge a society by how it treats its old people and kids? Well, keep the kids away from the game until they're old enough to understand how special profanity is, and give the senior citizens their own Luby's-on-the-Olentangy. "This section does not receive wireless, and never will. It also contains special baffling technology to prevent hip-hop from passing into the ears of its occupants."

    In conclusion: Shelley Meyer stands like a damn soldier through games in the stands. Salute.

    OH IT IS SO VERY BEAUTIFUL. We mentioned it in the Acrostical by metaphor, but the actual mechanics of how Texas A&M dismantled South Carolina are way, way more beautiful. Fun fact! Kenny Hill hit his first read most of the time, which is one reason to be very worried about the Gamecocks on defense, and one reason to be slightly circumspect about Hill's overall potential this season. Someone will make him go to his second read, and when he does you'll figure out exactly how good he is. (Likely answer: very good, but still sadly human.)

    ALSO VERY BEAUTIFUL: Smart Football breaking down Michigan State's defense.

    KEEP REACHING THOSE STRAWS ARE ENDLESS. Pat Fitzgerald has wristbands and bloggers to blame, but he can keep going if you like.

    OGRE TIME. Stanford's offensive line remains a thing of art, if not subtlety. Let it be known that they've seen the internet art made for them, and were impressed and pleased.

    ETC: Netw3rk doing the Day at the Races with Wes Welker.


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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/J07ldTb-IdE" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe>

    "I have what you would call a smooth, gradual fade which transitions into the high top. It's reflective of my personality. Near the ear you have the contrast, which is the sideburns, which is reflective of the football mentality side of my personality."


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    BACK WITH OH SO MUCH HOLY POWER

    No they don't make much sense. But they're ours, just like this baby made of ham we call Skillet Orville Hall, and that's what counts. Isn't that right, Skillet?

    1. BAYLOR. Power rankings don't have to make sense from just a football perspective and nothing throws off our perspective in the positive direction more than FIRE SWEET BLAZING PYROMANIAC FIRE. A proper hellfire and brimstone entrance has been lacking from Baptist football. It also helps that they held SMU to under 100 yards of offense, and that their quarterback played a whole half of football with two broken bones in his back, which is also metal as hell itself. We broke the same ones-- the little bastard transverse processes along the spine-- and needed Dilaudid to be able to walk. It may be possible that Bryce Petty is tougher than we are!

    But how can you not put FSU or Texas A&Mhere Well buddy it's pretty simple. We like Baylor, and FSU can go fly into a ogre's butthole, and A&M is next and didn't have fire. You use fire, you win the week. There's math to back this up, but we refuse to show our work because cool kids never, ever show their work, and instead walk away from completed math problems like they're exploding cars. That's the answer, Mrs. Myers. You take it, or go bitch about your divorce again in the teacher's lounge some more.*

    *Yup, still bitter about 8th grade algebra.

    7apbo_medium

    2. Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. We lied. BLWIT is ranked ahead of Texas A&M, but that's not the Aggies' fault. Aggies ain't got tapdancing Charles Durning. No one does.

    The Chicken Ranch was a real place that a journalist got closed after an investigation. Marvin Zindler said he did it not because he disapproved of prostitution, but because of the brothel's ties to organized crime. Why this doesn't apply towards easily half of the businesses in Texas is a good question, but you can't ask Zindler. He died a few days after filing his last on-air report yelling about slime in restaurant ice machines and rat-infested Chinese buffets in Houston from his deathbed. Marvin Zindler, even if he did close down a whorehouse, was unquestionably down for the cause.

    P.S. This movie also had Dolly Parton in 1982, and may be peak Dolly.

    3. Texas A&M. Kenny Hill isn't there yet.

    Trill is a certification process run by Bun B. It's no different than that of a prized French cheesemaker or artisan stonemason, really. There's levels and tests, and they have to be passed. And be honest with yourself: passing any test given in South Carolina outside a doctor's office doesn't prove much in any context.

    Uczdu_medium

    4. Fowler in the booth. The most impressive part about Fowler's move to the booth: we scarcely noticed it. He just floated in pleasantly, nailed the play-by-play for OK State/FSU, and then coasted out the door like he'd been doing it for years. He probably flew two thousand miles in one direction just hours after the game to call a tennis match, too.

    5. USC's offense. Weird that Lane Kiffin couldn't score in LA while Sark can, but that's how it works. Some towns just let you in, and some shut you out, and some let you run through Fresno State like a pinkeye outbreak. We suspect the single biggest difference in performance from week one to week two will be USC, but when you play Stanford you play a glacier in pads. Stanford quarterbacks will begrudgingly wrap up their burrito in silver foil, place it in their handwarming sleeve, and snap the ball with two second on the playclock. How long can they do this? Well, buddy, it depends on how long it takes the quarterback to eat this damn burrito. It's pretty big, and Kevin Hogan's a slow eater for a man his size.

    X5yprfd_medium

    6. Michigan. They scored fifty, and ran an offense that didn't rollout the quarterback on play-action every other play without the legitimate threat of a run game. Pat Dye once called Al Borges "one of the best offensive coordinators I've ever seen." Pat Dye's idea of a shootout are two camels fresh off the trail engaging in a pissing contest.

    7. Kendrick and JeezyOn the same track, no less. The only flaw in Jeezy's entire career is that he doesn't really rap a lot about smoking weed really hard, which produces rap's funniest songs because nothing is funnier than someone screaming and yelling vehemently about something producing a general sense of torpor accompanied by a need to giggle at cartoons. (Mystikal remains the king of the "I AM SMOKING SO HARD I TORE A HOLE IN THE FABRIC OF THE UNIVERSE genre.) Jeezy is, in all likelihood, too busy getting money, and then getting more money, to do that.

    Giphy_medium

    8. TODD GURLEY. "How's he such a manly runner when his name is Gurley? Did you hear me say that? I said 'Gurley,' which reminds you of the word 'girly.' It's a play on the inherent weakness of femininity in contrast to his outsized masculinity. I'm not a sexist, cause I watch the NFL games where they wear that pink shit. You need me, I'll be making this same comment tomorrow on 790 just like I did on the Dawgvent yesterday. I'm alone, y'all. I'll be so alone for the rest of my life."

    9. Al Golden's shirt. Still holding out against the forces of rot and mold despite being worn against the hide of the world's wettest creature for hours every Saturday. Try to catch him to fire him, Miami, and he'll only slip from your hands like a greased sea cucumber. It's his only defense; that much should be evident after watching the Hurricanes get run over in the second half by Louisville.

    SHIRT RANKINGS

    1. T

    2. Polo

    3. Long sleeve button-down (Unstarched)

    4. Camp shirt

    5. Tank top

    6. Tunic

    84. Poet's

    182,938. Hair

    182,939. Rae Carruth Panthers jersey

    BERT RANKINGS

    1. Convy

    2. Lahr

    3. Bielema (Sic)

    4. Campaneris

    5. Ernie's roommate. Total dunderheaded literalist roommate. Likely ND Nation commenter.

    VERT RANKINGS

    1. Five

    2. Four

    3. Haricot

    182. iCal Horizon

    INVERT RANKINGS

    1.

    Maverick-and-goose-tom-cruise-top-gun-inverted-with-mig-1280-wallpaper-2_medium

    [no others found or needed]

    CHERT RANKINGS

    1. Onyx

    2. Agate

    3. Opal

    4. Flint

    5. Ertkins

    FLIRT RANKINGS

    1. Wife because we are not stupid

    2. That lady at the DMV

    3. That other lady at the DMV

    4. Richard Dawson (On every list, really)

    5. Holly Rowe

    DESERT RANKINGS

    1. Sahara

    2. Mojave

    3. Atacama

    4. Gobi

    5. Arabian. Total garbage desert. Overrated

    6. Kalahari. There's stuff in it, barely counts.

    KLUIVERT RANKINGS

    1. Patrick


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  • 09/04/14--06:19: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 9/4/2014
  • MMM, CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF THESE EGGS

    AND HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW A CAMERA WAS ROLLING.

    That's a giant wine glass, lady, and that's how we know you really did go to Washington State. Mike Leach would be surprised by nothing on the menu at Noma. I was into foraging a long time ago. At Iowa Wesleyan me and Hal could scrounge up a meal for ten out of the woods behind the Hy-Vee in twenty minutes. You wanna know how you find out which mushrooms are poisonous? The same way you learn touch passing: painful repetition until you get it right.

    CHARLIE STRONG WILL WIN THIS GAME WITH OR WITHOUT YOU. He means this literally, since after kicking offensive linemen Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle off the team the Longhorns now have a total of four starts between all of their current offensive line. Regime change in Texas has achieved perfect decimation: one out of every ten players on the team coming out of the 2013 season are now gone.

    A PERFECTLY INOFFENSIVE TEAM. He's not wrong, since it is really hard to find a reason to hate Michigan State from anything but a Michigan fan's perspective. We mean, Kirk Ferentz does, but is "Kirk Ferentz does it" an endorsement you really want to take anywhere but the bank or contract negotiations? (If yes, congratulations, you have already punted on this day from your opponent's 38 yard line.) If this angers you as an Iowa fan, yes: your coach is more successful than Will Muschamp, another low bar you might not want to be all that happy embracing.

    TWIS: Now in the capable hands of Ryan Nanni.

    HOW DO YOU MAKE DABO MAD? Kyrin Priester is off the team at Clemson for having "a poor attitude," which must be genuinely stanky indeed to piss off someone as perpetually sanguine as Dabo Swinney.

    ETC: Colt Lyerla's long, hiccupy path to the NFL. The new Miata looks like the early leader for "Coolest Car To Drive While Being Called a Homosexual By Random Idiot Gentlemen in Trucks."


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    WELCOME BACK! ARE BEARS CLEAN ENOUGH?

    It's back: the longest, most meandering football podcast on these internets, the Shutdown Fullcast. Featuring Jason Kirk and Ryan Nanni, we spend this week's episode discussing:

    1. What you'd say if you were in Charlie Weis' body for 15 minutes
    2. How often does a bear bathe, and is it an appropriate frequency of baths-to-bear ratio?
    3. Is Cal back? From where? Where is Cal back from, exactly?
    4. Has anyone ever eaten two calzones, ever? And would you eat them at Brady Hoke's Tremendous House of Calzones?
    5. Is there anything you can watch this week besides Michigan State/Oregon?
    6. Did you know Tulane and New Mexico host Big Five programs this week? They do! That's a real thing!

    Download here, or listen below. (We're looking into iTunes or something, if you ask.)


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    THE FACTOR FIVE FIVE FACTOR PREVIEW WELCOMES 2014 TO THE FLOOR WITH ROADRUNNERS WILDCATS AND OTHER THINGS YOU FIND IN YOUR TENT IN THE DESERT

    The Factor Five Five Factor Preview is back for 2014 with the first edition.

    NEBULOUS STATISTICAL COMPARISONS OF DUBIOUS VALIDITY We have played one game and your statistics are garbage and so is Houston's offense. The Cougars turned the ball over six times, so if 27-7 makes you want to leap with both feet into the Roadrunners' bandwagon, well, go ahead. We're not big on logic around here, and that's how you end up with an ass tat of Larry Coker's face that stings ever so slightly every time it rains. It looks scary now, sure, but when the scabbing clears up it'll...shit, it'll still look like Larry Coker. Riding a woodpecker nude. Tattoos are AMAZING.

    UTSA held the ball for 40 minutes in the Houston game. That plan will not change against Arizona, because the Wildcats put up 787 yards of offense last week against UNLV, ran 94 plays, scored 58 points, and had double 100 yard rushers and receivers on the night. Believe you are the darkly painted speed hump at the end of a long residential street, UTSA: believe it with all your heart, because that's about the only hope you have.

    ADVANTAGE: Arizona

    ARIZONA, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D

    MASCOT

    This is Rowdy, UTSA’s roadrunner mascot:

    Contact_medium

    And this is a wildcat in a swimsuit:

    Bfaftjxcqaavdaa_medium

    ADVANTAGE: Arizona. We reward self-confidence around here, even when it is creepy and weird

    ARIZONA, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D

    AURA

    The Alamo Dome has only been home to one other football team: the San Antonio Texans, a CFL franchise that went 12-6 in their one year of operation in 1995. They then disappeared from the earth after that one year. Don't let the legacy of the San Antonio Texans go unsaluted, Roadrunners, and say a prayer for the Shreveport Pirates while you're at it. They came before you, albeit with the pesky burden of actually having to pay their players real money.

    ADVANTAGE: Arizona, unless someone cuts a hole in the roof and conjures up a few stout lightning delays. (AKA "The Muschamp Prevent Defense.")

    ARIZONA, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D

    NAMES

    NAMES

    Downton Abbey is a wonderful television show, and not just in some dumbass "oh my wife wants to watch it and it’s fine I guess" way. The production values are gorgeous, Maggie Smith tossing verbal daggers without a care in the world never gets old, and the show does a good job of quietly contrasting the mostly dumb problems the rich folks with the actual shit the house staff has to deal with. "Oh, that’s a real bummer that you have too many wealthy suitors to deal with. Will you excuse me for a moment? Everyone I know is dying of an untreated respiratory infection."

    And because the world of Downton Abbey is so potentially sprawling, new characters are introduced without it feeling shoehorned or forced. You can bring in some visiting dignitary from Hejaz or a poetess from France and it’s totally fine! So we’re judging the names this week on what sort of Downton Abbey character they’d fit with.

    ARIZONA

    Luca Bruno - An unsavory anarchist from Naples with no feet.

    Hank Hobson - The American chemist hired by the Dowager Countess to increase the potency of her home-grown poppies.

    Sir Thomas Jackson - A decorated British war hero who harbors a terrible secret: he cannot dance.

    Scooby Wright III - Troublesome newspaperman who nearly ruins the family when he exposes Lord Grantham’s love of denim.

    Drake Pierre - Murderer, probably.

    UTSA

    Dalton Sturm - A sea captain who turns up at Downton with a crate full of unsigned notes written to Edith. They are later accidentally traded for cabbage.

    Chase Dahlquist - Village dentist who talks too much.

    Gage Hadlock - Motorcycle salesman who dies within three minutes of kissing Lady Mary.

    Ragan Robichaux - Visiting Canadian chef who offends Mrs. Patmore for reasons which are unexplained.

    Triston Crossland - A moody but handsome parakeet.

    ADVANTAGE: UTSA, but only after Dalton Sturm punches Thomas in the stomach.

    UTSA, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D

    GRUDGES/SCORES TO SETTLE/SHEER CUSSEDNESS

    Rodriguez is winless against Coker dating back to their days at West Virginia and Miami, respectively, but grown men who rise to power at major football programs don't carry over petty grudges ahahahahah nope-- Rich Rod will bury him if he can, because this is what coaches do. They don't forget things, ever.

    EDIT: Arizona did beat UTSA last year, so RichRod has a win here. He's still gonna thump if he can thump. Thanks, Justin J.

    UTSA has the edge in sheer cussedness, though, being both the underdog here and carrying the imprint of their coach, who finally found a place where he resembles the local wildlife. Look at him, noble Larry Coker: the desert tortoise, poised in the morning sun, refusing to yield to the elements, moving slowly and methodically down the field with a roadrunner's wings painted on his indomitable shell. If UTSA wins, someone will paint this very image on the back of a truck in San Antonio, and on the sides spraypaint "PINCHE CORRECAMINOS" on the sides.

    We kind of want to root for UTSA here just to see that truck. Eh, fuck it.

    ADVANTAGE: UTSA. ¡VIVA LOS CORRECAMINOS! (And Arizona wins the Factor Five Preview 3-2 anyway, so might as well give plucky UTSA a bonus point for being cool and fearless here.)

    BY A SCORE OF 3-2, ARIZONA...YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D


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  • 09/05/14--06:44: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 9/5/2014
  • MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP

    SOMETIMES WHEN YOU LOSE YOU WIN. The scoreboard is a liar. UTSA dominated the dancing punter, giant fucking devastating block, and excellent t-shirt category. Arizona also had to kick four field goals in the redzone, which should engage some kind of automatic rule about losing the football game based on being too ashamed of how you won it in the first place. #TEAMMEEP

    IN SUMMARY: The rivalry between Michigan and Notre Dame concludes with neither team liking each other, no one missing the game, and zero regrets. Sounds like a proper 37 year long hate-bonin' all around, and the smoothest possible breakup in a rivalry no one will miss whatsoever.

    RELATED TO MICHIGAN: It's good to see Al Borges staying busy.

    Horrendous_box_score_medium

    NEGATIVE ONE HUNDRED YARDS ON THE NIGHT. And all done with only one turnover. (via)

    LET'S MAKE SOME FRIENDS ON THE KALAMAZOO POLICE DEPARTMENT. P.J. Fleck had three players arrested for shoplifting at the Wal-Mart over the summer and didn't know it because no one told him, which is why it's time to get next-level and start handing out free tickets to the cops. It's like the SEC has to tell you how to do football everything sometimes.

    THIS WEEK IN ITALIAN NEWS. The Italian scientific community boldly announces a.) there is no such thing as the G-spot, and b.) the secret to sexual happiness is eating an apple a day.

    Jannini also said that the vagina "must be respected" and is not simply a conduit through which children are made.

    FORZA.

    ETC: Those new McConaughey ads for Lincoln are fantastic. If the state of Florida destroys the city of Waldo, levels it, and forces its residents to flee to other, less reprehensible places (like anywhere) then yes, that would be very good. We did not have this during our time in Turkey and that just means we'll have to go back immediately.


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    TURNING YESTERDAY'S HOT TAKES INTO STONE COLD LOCKS

    1. Ball State at Iowa

    Ferentzkids_medium

    2. Maryland/USF

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    3. Michigan at Notre Dame

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    4. UAB at Mississippi State

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    5. Virginia Tech at Ohio State

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    6. Kansas State at Iowa State

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    7. USC at Stanford

    Uscstanford_medium


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    The weekly insta-reaction top five.

    An instantaneous survey of five teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff's four spots at this very moment, plus the biggest threats looming for each. Be advised: these have nothing to do with the preseason Top 25 polls. If you get mad about this, you will be pointed to the previous sentence.

    OREGON

    Oregon reclaimed a game after trailing at the half. That's new!

    Michigan State reverting to blowing leads is also a new old thing, but Connor Cook really had no choice in the second half. Oregon's defensive line jammed Michigan State's run game, harried Cook in the pocket, and held serve until Marcus Mariota showed up and did that thing where he creates three touchdowns out of thin air. Mariota with a healthy knee in a two-game national title scenario is sheer, uncut terror for opposing defenses.

    The second half was a lopsided, 28-3 street race against the Big Ten's best team. Oregon is in the Playoff circle, and Michigan State is the car on fire in the ditch, the big-body that could not keep up, got sideways, and will now go to the repair shop before racing against high schoolers to improve its self-esteem.

    (Those high schoolers are the Big Ten. We've broken our metaphors here, and we blame Mariota. He juked us clean out of our brain sometime in the third quarter.)

    Threats: Stanford, though that's less certain than ever after watching Stanford's offense against USC on Saturday. A game at UCLA could be the toughest hurdle. UCLA allowed 35 points to Memphis. Oregon's already in the Playoff.

    FLORIDA STATE

    Simply dominated The Citadel in a game no one should have played or scheduled. I'm not sure how a number conveys "a listless practice played against painfully overmatched competition by supremely gifted athletes giving half-effort to prevent being hurt and also because they sort of didn't care a lot," but the score 37-12 does that perfectly. It's the serial number for football ennui, basically.

    Threats: Florida, which scored 65 points on the MAC's most hapless team? Well, Michigan scored a bucket of points a week ago against a bad team. Optimism abounded, and hope rose like a hot-air balloon in the pearlescent light of dawn. Then Notre Dame flew clear through its tender fabric and sent it screaming toward the earth in a shutout of the Wolverines.

    Let's basically assume Florida State, barring an ACC Thursday Night Hindenburg special, is also already in the Playoff. Louisville's just lurking and going for it on fourth down while leading Murray State by hundreds and hundreds of points. Bobby Petrino is a cannibal.

    ALABAMA

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    Scott Cunningham, Getty

    The only thing of note in Alabama's 41-0 friendly against FAU: the Tide played both Blake Sims and Jacob Coker against mediocre competition, ensuring a productive, measured, and balanced public debate in the state over which one should start at quarterback. The previous sentence is a lie. You should probably burn your home electronics, block all newspaper deliveries, and avoid all conversation with neighbors for the next few weeks if you live in Alabama.

    P.S. This might be good advice in Alabama out of football season, too.

    Threats: Florida? Is that a thing, maybe? No? Okay, it's still Texas A&M, Auburn, LSU, and the feeling among committee members that invincibility in Tuscaloosa is no longer a given.

    OKLAHOMA

    Tidy pummelings are Bob Stoops' favorite way to break in the season, and there's a good chance the Sooners can string together a good long chain of them all the way to the Baylor game on November 8.

    Tight end Blake Bell had a receiving TD against Tulsa, the same Blake Bell who started at quarterback for the Sooners to begin 2013. You don't need to go out and buy something new, Oklahomans. Stoops can turn that old, scratched-up wardrobe of yours into a canoe the whole family can enjoy in just one simple step!

    This also happened:

    Via ABC

    Threats: Boredom, Baylor, and Oklahoma State to finish the season. Texas lost 41-7 to BYU, has no offensive linemen with experience left, and is no longer a threat. Because I just said that, assume a Sooners loss in the Red River Shootout is imminent.

    TEXAS A&M

    Played Lamar. Blew Lamar out. Achieved nothing to ruin the perception that A&M's offense is lethal, and that its out-of-conference scheduling is a tiger's romp through an unguarded preschool.

    Threats: LSU, primarily, followed by Auburn and Alabama. You want to put Ole Miss in there for fun, don't you? DON'T.

    TEAMS THAT DID NOT PLAY THIS WEEK

    Georgia, boldly crushing the bye before playing South Carolina. The Dawgs are out only because this is Week 2, and everyone else doubled up their data. Small sample sizes are the devil.

    TEAMS THAT LOOKED KIND OF WEIRD AND SCARED US A LITTLE

    USC can win low-scoring games. The Trojans only scored 13 points. That thing we said about small sample sizes being the devil applies here, because USC has played one game as a 1990s WAC team and another as a 1980s SEC team, and their real identity lies somewhere in a middle ground only found over time.

    One other troubling thought: maybe Stanford's kind of a big, old slug of a football team that really can't go anywhere with much purpose?

    TEAMS IN THE WAITING ROOM

    LSU. Shut out Sam Houston State 56-0 and let freshman Leonard Fournette strike the Heisman pose on an FCS team.

    Auburn. A sleepy, 59-13 cruise over San Jose State, which, to be fair is at least an FBS team. It is thus an ambitious choice of opponent, considering the SEC's piss-poor Week 2 slate.

    Notre Dame. Beating Michigan this bad doesn't mean that much anymore. But the Irish looked great doing it!


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    One giant duck oversees everything that happens at the University of Oregon. He was in full form before, during, and after his team's win against Michigan State on Saturday.

    The Duck is awake, forever.

    It is 5:55 a.m. Pacific time. He sits on the back of a motorcycle in the dark, pointed down the middle of a long tunnel made of Oregon band members. TV people push sleep-zonked students and randos away to clear room for the camera crew. An empty Rolling Rock can is on the ground.

    Duckness

    The Duck should be awake. He has no eyelids and no need to sleep. His energy is inhuman, literally and figuratively. He showed up at a band meeting at 5:15 with the same expression he wears forever: pupils flared almost to the limits of his eyes, a thin margin of white outlining them, and the broad permagrin of his bill leading the way at eye level. The Duck could be about six feet tall, but I would be lying if I said he didn't feel a whole foot taller because of the mouth staring you right in the face.

    He will make no fewer than four major appearances today, rolling out on the motorcycle twice, leading the football team through a walk-through, wandering the tailgates pre-game, and finally working the entire game in 93-degree heat without a break. The Duck will jump out of a bus and onto a platform. He will shadow-box with the Michigan State mascot. He will not fight today, but he could. In 2007, The Duck and Shasta, the Houston Cougars mascot, engaged in a very real brawl on the field during a 48-27 Oregon win.

    After each Oregon score, he will do as many pushups as his team has points at that moment. Oregon will score 46 points today. He will do 179 pushups.

    The lights go on. The crowd is cued to cheer. The Duck grabs his rider, and the bike lunges at a disturbing speed toward the set. The second college football Saturday of 2014 begins with that image: a giant duck riding a motorcycle through the woods in the dark, his eyes bolt-open and looking like madness on the wing.

    The Duck is only The Duck.

    There is this kind of effect with any mascot: 50 feet away it is funny, at 10 it is mildly off-putting, and at six inches from your nose a mascot is the very Platonic ideal of soul-estranged terror. The Duck up close can be this kind of terrifying, because there is a real question of what to do when, after he notices you, he walks up and begins mean-mugging you and ... wants to fight? Or something?

    Somehow, chest to chest with a duck, you feel like the interloper in the scene, the one who makes no sense whatsoever.

    Duckness

    Then, at the moment you feel like backing away, he does some light twerking against the wall of an adjacent port-o-let.

    The Duck knows all this, and how each move fits into the scene. Oregon's mascot might have originally been taken wholesale from Donald Duck, and secured in rights for life via a handshake deal between Walt Disney, a cartoonist, and the Oregon athletic director. Yet this is not Donald in a suit, or even a thing your brain recognizes as "clearly a person wearing a suit." It is a self-actualized character, a thing that knows exactly when to appear without warning in a group selfie.

    If there are people inside the suit, they don't choose The Duck. The Duck chooses them, and they are merely along for the ride. The Duck is The Duck. If he's firing Voodoo Doughnuts into the "College GameDay" crowd with a slingshot, he's not waiting for anyone to turn around. He sure as hell isn't giving any warning about incoming pastry.

    There are no people inside the suit, though. There is a real, giant duck sleeplessly roaming Eugene at all times. He does exactly what he wants. He asks no permissions.

    The Duck is a listener.

    And he's a good one, despite having no visible ears. One older Oregon fan shakes his hand like he's meeting an alderman and congratulates The Duck on doing a great job today. The Duck cannot respond. He does not talk, and can't, despite whatever rumors you heard about him whispering to Lee Corso on the ESPN set on Saturday.

    People tell stories to The Duck. Like, long stories, both about Oregon football and just about life. They ask for selfies, an endless stream of selfies. They hug, manhandle, and duckhandle him in crowd situations. He's game. The Duck, because he is a giant, man-sized waterfowl walking the earth pantsless, has no fear of crowds. He barges through them with an insistence bordering on the comedically antisocial.

    For example, post-"GameDay," The Duck is posing for pictures on one side of a crowd by the stage. He needs to get back up to the stage for more photographs. What you or I would do would be a long chain of pardon me's, excuse me's, and gentle partings of the seas with a hand. You would nudge, cajole, and murmur politely. You would people the hell out of the situation.

    What The Duck does: he puts his hands to his side and shuffles forward silently. It is important to note here that West Coast people usually have a very specific and exagerrated notion of personal space. Bump into a New Yorker, and he or she will assume you are just as terrible a human being as he or she is, maybe mumbling a profanity or two before sprinting away. Bump into a Best Coaster, and you have A SITUATION, BRO. Hands will be thrown apart in wide disbelief; apologies must be made.

    The Duck does neither. He butts his way through without raising a hand, slowly inching his way through the crowd with only his manic, fixed facial expression as apology. It works, too. You are being pushed aside in tiny, stuttering increments by a giant waterfowl. Asking for any explanation makes you the asshole, not him.

    The Duck is a head of state.

    "We're going this way," says one of The Duck's handlers. He travels with two or three of them at all times, since while The Duck does not get lost, he doesn't exactly stay on task, either. He stops to jump into a crowd to live-heckle a Michigan State fan. He falls back 50 feet to take yet another selfie.

    He has his own Secret Service, and he periodically enjoys almost losing it in crowds.

    Duckness

    "We're going? Okay, we're going."

    The handlers don't guide The Duck so much as follow him at a half-jog through a pair of double doors into the Moshofsky Center, Oregon's gigantic indoor practice facility. This is Oregon's version of the stadium walk: a tunnel of human hands extended out, the team and the band walking through exchanging high-fives, and bounding ahead of them all, The Duck, slapping hands and boinging along like a linebacker fresh off a violent sack.

    And this is all pure illusion, but running along behind The Duck's executive staff and trying to take pictures and not get caught up in the moment, this feels like something entirely different. This feels like the anchor leg of a political campaign, with the leading candidate running through a photo-op with the wind of a 10-point lead at his back. The Duck has been confessional, public heckler, totem, and cuddler-for-hire today. For these two minutes, the rest of the football team, strangely humanoid and vulnerable-looking without pads, is some kind of unattached afterthought to a few minutes of open animal worship.

    The Duck in full.

    The bus door opens and The Duck, wearing the kind of paper crown a kid gets at Burger King, tries to jump out majestically onto a waiting golden platform held by cheerleaders.

    Duckness

    He catches the edge of a webbed foot on the edge of the platform and bellyflops onto it with a heinous, loud *THWACK*. The cheerleaders lurch, but The Duck recovers, stands up, and fights his way through some tree limbs before surfing onto the set of "GameDay" as the week's guest picker.

    The Duck has to make every pick without speaking, yet somehow manages to derail the segment completely on several occasions. He nudges Kirk Herbstreit with a horse mask on a stick. He pokes Desmond Howard with a giant green foam hand. There is no less than five pounds of sugar The Duck has shoveled everywhere: into his face, all over the desk, at and over Chris Fowler, and into a giant bowl he stops to eat from while the other four cast members struggle to stay on track.

    (From the wings I hear someone yell out: "That's how you get ants!")

    That's appropriate. This is, from a television perspective, pure "Archer," a series of interactions devolving into accelerated chaos centering on one character who cannot be put on script.

    duckball.0.0.gif

    The Duck starts a "U-S-A" chant on-air. His props fail, then work, with delayed comic effect, like when he bashes at a toy rocket until it finally pops off the launch pad and into the ceiling. When Herbstreit picks Michigan State, The Duck opens fire with a toy gun and begins heaving cereal across the desk. When he is asked to make his pick, The Duck pulls out a cubic, "Minecraft"-looking version of his own head.

    duckheads.0.0.gif

    Corso gets a gift-wrapped Duck head of his own, and the two embrace as Fowler pulls a glass of red wine from thin air, toasting the event as the Oregon Cheer team rushes the stage. The Duck is fist-pumping and hugging a 79-year-old man wearing a duck head.

    The show ends. The crew dashes off set to the airport. Herbstreit and Fowler have to call the USC-Stanford game, and the others have to scramble to Bristol and parts unknown. The set is empty except for The Duck. He sits at a chair in the confetti and the sugar and the littered toys and props he's thrown all over the set. He has no reason to leave. It's his now.


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  • 09/09/14--05:50: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 9/9/2014
  • LET'S ALL KEEP THIS IN PERSPECTIVE AND HEY THERE GOES PERSPECTIVE OUT THE DOOR

    PENN STATE NOW ELIGIBLE TO NOT MAKE THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF. The NCAA, which still exists for some reason, took advantage of a solid media storm yesterday to quietly announce Penn State was immediately eligble for the postseason, and that a full complement of scholarships would be available for 2015. There is no reasoning behind this, and none needed since the NCAA makes up everything as it goes in the longest documented act of bureaucratic improvisation since the Byzantine Empire.

    Penn State fans reacted calmly and rationally.

    UNDER, OVER, AROUND, AND THROUGH. The profanity-free Mormon burn is medically one of the worst you can suffer, Texas.

    THIS IS A SUCCINCT SUMMARY OF MICHIGAN RIGHT NOW AND FOR MOST OF THE PAST FIVE YEARS. Via Roll Bama Roll's Meltdown Time:

    I feel like shit about it but I am done with this program until something changes. They fuck up my life way too often for the happiness it brings.

    When Brian's titling posts "I Learned How To Put Myself In A Box A Long Time Ago", the entire Michigan fanbase is already right there with you. (Though they're not the Ohio State fan who said "if they convert this I'm gonna cut my dick off.") (Which, if it's the down we're thinking of, he totally by contract had to do.)

    WE FORGOT ONE THING. When the Duck jumped out of the Gameday bus and onto his golden platform, he was wearing this little Burger King crown, and when his flipper clipped the edge of the thing the crown flew off and rolled off into the grass. It's the little details that matter to a professional.

    DAMMIT, IOWA. Massive and insanely powerful Iowa LT Brandon Scherff is allegedly having surgery after a knee injury this weekend.

    ETC: GO HAWKS.


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    Marylandphotos

    You know it's Maryland football because he's standing in front of the cannons, not behind them.


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    NOT MUCH GOING ON? HATIN' ASS SPURRIER DISAGREES

    Which one of y'all told Will Muschamp the painted part wasn't lava?

    I know it wasn't dominating, but the Gamecocks can call them LEast Carolina now that we gave them an L fair and square.

    Ease up there, Oregon. If destroying Michigan State in September was all it took to win a title, John L. Smith would be in the Hall of Fame.

    Wait DAMMIT IDAHO GET SOME STANDARDS OVER THERE.

    Turns out Mark Richt didn't write that letter to a Clemson fan, which fits with my understanding of education in the state of Georgia.

    Mighty polite of you to practice abstinence in front of the home crowd at Notre Dame, Michigan offense. A classy farewell gesture if I do say so myself.

    I got a cheer for your team this year, Washington: "GO AWGS"

    Tell Georgia fans something was ghostwritten and watch them scream "DADDY I LOVE YOU, AND WHERE'D YOU HIDE THE MONEY" into the spine.

    I know Tennessee hasn't played anybody, but 2-0 is better than the old "Kentucky with boats" recruiting pitch.

    Houston Nutt seems like a natural for the SMU job, since Arkansans do enjoy screwing a pony or two from time to time.

    'Course you gotta pick Snyder over Rhoads. Bill was a grad assistant on the Appian Way.

    Don't worry about all those zeroes in the redzone, Stanford. They'll all show up as Bs eventually on the transcript.

    No one goes to a private school to fail, is what I'm saying, unless you're June Jones or Derek Mason.

    Take Bill Snyder to the Museum of Natural History and he'll just start crying and asking why they dug up all his old dogs' skeletons.

    Can't see Dan Guerrero pullin' a stunt like Pat Haden did, mostly 'cause he's only got a candy beeper.

    Surprised me to see Alabama beat Florida Atlantic that easily. Nick Saban didn't even have his swimmies on.

    Fool you the first time, shame on you. Fool you the second time and you know damn well what's going to happen when you open the door for Mormons, Texas.

    Gotta respect what June Jones has done in his career. Lost to Georgia and got blown out in the Sugar Bowl, but never lost the faith of Jeremy Foley.

    Michigan State's feeling some type of way right now. (Herpes is an emotion in East Lansing, right?)

    I didn't believe the Big Ten had declined. Then I heard Penn State students went wild because they get to go to the Holiday Bowl now.

    The good news is business school's only gonna look at your highest score, Michigan.

    Now I don't think y'all should all gang up on the Big Ten. Just one of you will do.

    Y'all see that Clemson win over South Carolina State? I think Dabo's got a future in selling fake Coach purses.

    Purdue's struggling now, but I think they're innovatin' all the same. You never saw football team insurance fraud before this, did you?

    Hawkeye football's a lot like Taco Bell - a multimillion dollar enterprise based on the idea that Iowans don't have self-worth.

    If this Ohio State line was any weaker, Carl Pelini would go back down to the docks and demand a refund.

    Call Frank Beamer the Dayton Dominatrix cause he just got paid to beat some nuts in Ohio.

    Call Bo Pelini the cable guy cause he's gonna be there between 9 and 4 and probably smells like smoke.

    Call Dan Mullen "civil rights" because he almost lost to Birmingham, too.

    Call yourself Jimbo Fisher because you didn't play a football game this week, either, loser.


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