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    It's the first Monday after an Alabama loss, and that means it's time for an open thread to celebrate the happiest day in college football: Alabama fans opening a vein, and pouring it into the chalice of Paul Finebaum to keep him alive forever with their angst. Listen here; reply below.

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  • 10/07/14--06:39: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 10/7/2014

    HIT THE WEIGHTS, SON. The cop barely has to try, dude.

    We hope Saban yelled at him about getting off the block as he passed. The funniest part if you watch to the end: chokeslamming a hapless kid, and then still running into redshirt freshman DT Herbert Moore's huge ass to somehow get around before finding an exit off the field.

    A POSTER SHOULD REALLY BE SAUTEED BUT WHATEVER, P.J. FLECK. Western Michigan is deeply into irony, so of course they honored Idaho's football team by vandalizing their visitor's locker room, knocking a few sinks off the wall, leaving trash everywhere, and generally making a mess of their host's facility. Coach PJ Fleck released this statement in response to the AP's report.

    OFF THE PIRATE SHIP WITH YE. After allowing back-to-back kickoff TDs and missing a 19 yard field goal to win the game against Cal, Wazzu fired Eric Russell as special teams coach. Life is short on the pirate ship for those that slow the pillage. Oh, about Cal:

    WHAT THE HELL. Cal is a top 25 team in the new efficiency rankings because we are in hell and the well-sharpened pitchfork is the new Blackberry. Don't even look at the top. Just, don't.

    WELL YES THAT'S PERFECTLY OKAY TO SUSPEND SOMEONE FOR. Trae Elston really couldn't have known in the heat of the moment that Kenyan Drake's foot was hanging off the end of his leg like that, but no, you really shouldn't kick anyone while they're on the ground. Or while they're standing. Let's just not kick people at all, generally speaking, and let Trae sit for a half and let some other really malicious Ole Miss defender take a turn in their fiendish secondary.

    ETC: "I still have never seen anyone chug a beer faster than Tom Brady."

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    When you see a chance to pull a twig off the Dan Hawkins coaching bonsai, Oregon, I guess you gotta do it.

    Lookin' dumb at home made Tim Allen a TV star, so I see what Oregon's going for.

    BYU didn't have a backup ready? Thought that was kind of a habit out in Utah.

    Good news is BYU's playoff hopes have their own planet now.

    D'you see that Louisville/Syracuse game? Really? Why?

    General Montgomery beat Syracuse too, so I think we should see what Bobby Petrino can do with an M3 Lee.

    I did see their coach talking about people cutting other people's heads off, so it's good to see someone already understands how the ACC ends up with ten 4-4 teams in conference every year.

    Think Ned Yost is doing a real good job coaching up Florida's offense. Ten runs don't just make themselves, yanno.

    Will Muschamp's favorite erotic story is the Pagliacci joke.

    Will Muschamp's runnin' the Weight Watchers offense - limited points, questionable long-term, and ends with you crying into a bag of chocolate chips in the shower.

    Nice checkerboard trick in the stands, though. Neyland Stadium's now the quietest Cracker Barrel.

    Losing to Kentucky is like shitting your pants: I do it about once every twenty years, and it usually comes from eating what some dude you don't know named "JoJo" cooked up for you.

    I wouldn't put "lost to Purdue" on the death certificate, Tim Beckman. That's how you get an insurance investigation.

    Randy Edsall said Maryland was his dream job and, sure enough, that defense isn't real.

    If Kevin Sumlin were a Roman he'd be called 50/50 cause he's puttin' up at least two Ls in conference a year.

    Sumlin would be ideal for Florida lately, though. He can't spy a quarterback for miles around, either.

    Texas A&M beat us pretty bad. Guess Poland wasn't a real good indicator of the Wehrmacht's strength of schedule, were they?

    Look at the Tennessee-Florida rivalry from the Vols side and you can see why they don't believe in evolution.

    Hey Bobby Stoops: If I wanted to pay millions just to get humiliated by a fly-eating cold-blooded lizard in Texas I'd challenge Rick Perry to an election.

    Hey Bobby, I thought you had to drive past the book depository on the other side of town for that treatment.

    Hey Bobby, Katy Perry wants to call Trevor Knight because she's back on gluten and wants to try some of those great turnovers he makes.

    Don't feel bad, Bobby. If Texas Christians weren't so good at bamboozling folks, Joel Osteen would be substitute teaching.

    I think the answer for Alabama's special teams is to get fans to tear down the goalposts before the game.

    The last thing Ole Miss people carried around like those goalposts came from a weird night in Memphis and required three rounds of antibiotics.

    Not many programs would put a geology class in on offense, but you know Stanford. Just can't stop innovating.

    The Stanford offense is a lot of unnecessary pain that doesn't get you anything, so Condi Rice is gonna love it.

    Bad weekend for traditional powers. Even Baylor struggled to put away Texas.

    Nice of James Franklin to donate his old team to science.

    Auburn's criminally underrated, and I mean that quite literally.

    Showing up three quarters late to every game is a bold strategy, but Les Miles has always had issues with clock management.

    Gus Malzahn's only had to beat an old man, a fat drunk, and a crazy guy. That's not even the appetizer course at Dana Holgorsen's Fight Club Easter Brunch.

    You're a fool if you didn't have Miami losing to math's team by at least eleven.

    Bhopal gas line also looked great in practice, Brady Hoke.

    Pat Haden's gotta be grateful that Sark's spared him from any conflict of interest issues, though.

    Losing to Utah's a great way to show you're ready for that Bama job, Jim Mora.

    Lou Holtz kept calling Nebraska's running back "Ameer Muhammad," but he was in the same scouting troop as the Prophet.

    Michigan State is our nation's college football hobo: just a quarter short of getting it together. (Also, has knocked out Bo Pelini recently in an unsanctioned street fight.)

    Laika set some records in a loss too, Connor Halliday.

    I know this Kentucky loss looks bad, but it ain't like we got beat by South Carolina.

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    UF police received a complaint that Gators quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg got into a fight with a teammate, defensive lineman Gerald Willis. Both players subsequently declined to press charges against each other, according to Maj. Brad Barber, a UPD spokesman.


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    The Shutdown Fullcast this week attempts to cover oh so many topics after the most chaotic week of the season yet. A brief roadmap of the chaos:

    1. A review of games including why you should always trust a team with a big-butted running back
    2. Around 22 mintues or so, Jason reads a New York Times article about artisanal popcorn in Wright Thompson's voice. This is Jason saying "WHOLE FOODS" in that voice. It will the hottest ringtone of 2014.
    3. Reader mail, including the coaches with the dumbest voices, what food Bret Bielema might eat off of his life partner in a celebratory mood, and an important discussion about which part of Florida produces the most Florida men.
    4. A brief preview of the week ahead including a rumination on why you should never, ever recruit a quarterback.

    Listen , below in the Soundcloud player, or on iTunes under the Sports tag. We're on iTunes! Stop asking WE'RE ON ITUNES DAMMIT.

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  • 10/09/14--08:33: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 10/9/2014


    Mute it to enjoy your own private David Lynch movie!

    FIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. Despite saying Paul Johnson was the best in the business at the option offense, David Cutcliffe did slip in a comment about wondering why any receiver would want to play in Georgia Tech's flexbone/paleolithic attack in an interview this week. Reminder: Paul Johnson doesn't care. That's a rule in life in general, but while he still doesn't care about anything including David Cutcliffe's opinions, he does enjoy telling people to go fuck a stump.

    "How many receivers have they put in the NFL?" Johnson asked after the Yellow Jackets’ Wednesday practice in preparation for Saturday’s game against Duke. "I can tell you. None. They’ve had one offensive player (drafted by) the NFL in his six years there. … He probably ought to worry about his own business."

    Paul Johnson is 6-0 against Duke in David Cutcliffe's tenure, and both men are somehow younger than Pete Carroll.

    TUBERVILLE IS A ONE MAN SHADE TREE. Godfrey went to Cincy's game against Ohio State and got their full game prep on record, including Tommy Tuberville talking about Ohio State, and somehow ending up talking shit about  Dennis Franchione.

    "Urban went to school here. So did his wife. Half his family did. My sister was a professor at Ohio State back in the '80s. Dang, I should've mentioned that in the press deal. But no, that always seemed stupid to me, when Dennis [Franchione] wouldn't say Auburn's name when he was at Alabama. Like no one knew our who our program was. But, hey, Dennis wasn't there long."

    Well, he wasn't, was he?

    THEY HAD ONE? The coordinator of officiating in the Pac-12 resigned, surprising everyone with his existence.

    THIS WAS GOING TO BE SOME SAD SPECULATION ON WHETHER JEFF DRISKEL OR WILL GRIER WAS GOING TO START AT QB FOR FLORIDA. Instead it is just going to be a picture of a stupid fucking raccoon with a goddamn can stuck on its stupid fucking head, because that is this football program right now. Goddammit you stupid fucking football program with a goddamn can on its godforsaken head.

    ETC: The man says you can't throw beer bottles out of a stolen forklift while telling the cops to fuck off and driving said forklift down an interstate, well shit, then the man's not worth listening to, dude.

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  • 10/09/14--14:03: PAUL JOHNSON'S ALMANAC


    Winter will come sooner than usual for 2014. Or it won't. Either way you need to get off my porch, mister. That dog barks and this Mossberg bites.


    Look for Mercury to rise slowly in the east just above the horizon, a tiny prick of red light about the size of David Cutcliffe's dick and just about as hard to find.


    Christ, you're picky. Go sit in the car if you don't like it.


    Like my daddy said, "Water's the universal solvent, but acid's the one that burns the prints off your fingers so the county man can't find your still."


    Don't. Crocodiles have filthy feet and they've outlived almost every other creature on this dang ball of mud.


    Get to the point and move on without drawing too much attention to yourself.


    Get to the point and move on without drawing too much attention to yourself.


    You ever see a possum stretch before it gets hit by a car or licks a live power wire? Be more like the possum.

    Speaking of:


    • Possum
    • Steak
    • Shoes
    • Not beets, fuck beets
    • Horse
    • Squirrel
    • Bear eggs
    • Hatred
    • Tar
    • Tears
    • Tarragon
    • Moon Pies
    • Haters




    With dynamite the answer is: Every day.


    If your Fish and Wildlife man is on your ass, use some chicken liver soaked in a little garlic powder and whisky. Throw a jar full of it into his car. Be sure to throw it hard. Bears'll turn that thing into the inside of a blender you made a poop smoothie in in a matter of minutes.


    Does a bear shit in the woods? No, he shits in your car. Fuck you, Ranger Jackwagon McDickface.


    Jesus was born on December 25th and David Allan Coe on September 6th. That means David Allan Coe's older and gets to sit in the front seat. Quit whining and buckle up, JC.


    Treat it like a hostage crisis: use smoke bombs and be prepared with a chopper.

    P.S. The chopper is for you. Attend no births not involving livestock which may be sold for profit.


    --Handful of carpentry nails. Iron attracts the sickness. Lead prevents overactive thinkin'. Pointiness identifies weak spots in intestinal lining.


    --Sleep. You might get lucky and die. If you don't it's the next best thing.

    --Death. Not sick anymore, are you?


    Eat shit. That's organic enough for you, right?

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    Georgia suspended Heisman-contending running back Todd Gurley Thursday due to an alleged rule violation.

    September 30, I received an email. That email, with name and number redacted:

    I have video of Todd Gurley doing a private autograph signing ***. He has been paid thousands of dollars for his stuff over the last 18 months. I personally paid him for this signing on the video. I have bought and sold game used equipment from him.

    I want no compensation. Just want someone to leak this story that's deserving. If you have any interest, give me a call or email. I attached a photo of him in my car signing a mini helmet that I just sold last week on my eBay store.

    All I ask is some privacy until we can touch base.

    I live on Georgia and would crucified if my name was released.

    The video is about 5 minutes long but doesn't show the money exchange.

    My cell is **********

    I believe this would be the lead story on sports center if ESPN got their hands on this. Hope to hear from you soon.

    The photo shows an African-American man with dreadlocks signing a red item while sitting in a car. His face is not visible. There is no way of telling whether it is Gurley or not.

    After verifying a.) the tipster's identity, and b.) that this person has sold Gurley-autographed gear on eBay under the name provided, we let it drop, because the purpose of this website is not to enforce the NCAA's insane bylaws. On the contrary, we're all for players making money, and are thus editorially supportive of those bylaws' erosion.

    So we let it drop. That was September 30.

    October 9, Georgia suspended Gurley for a violation of the rules of amateurism, specifically "an ongoing investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules." Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reported one source suggested the violation concerned "whether Gurley accepted extra benefits for his likeness with memorabilia brokers."

    SB Nation's Steven Godfrey called the emailer. Once Godfrey identified himself and confirmed the caller's name as matching the one provided in the email, the caller said the following:

    "I know why you're calling. I'm sorry, I can't talk right now. I know why you're calling me, and it's because he just got suspended. Gurley got suspended," the person said, without being asked anything other than his or her name.

    The person who answered the phone did confirm residence in the state of Georgia.

    "I've got like, 25 more people calling me right now about this. I can't talk right now. I can't say anything."

    The person then hung up.

    When contacted again, the individual refused to meet, denied sending the email, and denied any responsibility for Gurley's suspension.

    We don't know who provided allegations of rule-breaking to Georgia (a request for further comment from UGA was not returned). We do know this, though: at least one memorabilia dealer pitched this story about Gurley selling his name for money. We know that dealer peddled it to multiple outlets, and that the language used in SI's article confirming the story from UGA's end sounds a lot like the language in the email we got:

    The person claimed to have a photo and video of Gurley signing the items, but neither the photo nor the video showed money changing hands.

    We know that someone on the internet really, really wanted everyone to know that Todd Gurley was allegedly breaking the NCAA's rules. And now, over the gigantic princely sum of $400 in allegedly sold signatures, everyone does.

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    If you're just now waking up from a months-long sleep, do not be alarmed by the two names you read at the top of this list.

    An instantaneous survey of four 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 Top 25 polls. If you get mad about this, you will be pointed to the previous sentence.

    1. OLE MISS

    A 35-20 win over Texas A&M on the road is not as impressive as it might have seemed after Week 2 or 3 of this season, but put it in a larger context.

    In his third year in Oxford, Hugh Freeze has the best defense in the SEC and an undefeated record after Week 7 of the football season, an eventuality you might only think possible playing the old NCAA video game in Dynasty mode. You would make a pretty good football coach, you're thinking, now that you read that, and for all you know you could be right. Brady Hoke and Will Muschamp have jobs. Why not you, dear reader?

    Threats: Auburn. Possibly an Arkansas team mere points away from its first conference win under Bret Bielema. Mississippi State, now possibly Ole Miss' partner in an Egg Bowl that could be a play-in game to the College Football Playoff. That sentence is not a sign of mental illness. This is 2014, and the terror of the present is oh so very real at all times.


    Speaking of the terror of the present: the only reason we might have Mississippi State behind Ole Miss is that Mississippi State's win over LSU means a little less after realizing how bad LSU is, and because the Rebel defense is so much better than Mississippi State's in both statistical terms and general shock-and-awe value.

    However, the Bulldogs did something astonishing that only a really good team could do: give up four turnovers and still win a football game by 15 points over a fantastic division rival, in a 38-23 victory over Auburn.

    Threats: Alabama, which will probably still ruin everything, because that is what Nick Saban does to everything fun in this world. Arkansas, because they're this close to winning against someone. Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl that will end civilization itself.


    Hey, we finally joined Facebook!

    Not really the Seminoles' fault, but a two-week stretch of easy practices against Wake Forest and Syracuse has to result in some kind of slide in your overall status. (If only because, ew, Florida State's got Wake Forest and Syracuse all over it now.)

    FSU beat Syracuse, 38-20, in a game that means nothing to anyone. Forget they played it, because the ACC is like one huge SEC East right now.

    Threats: Notre Dame this coming week, followed up by the deadly Thursday night special against Louisville after a bye week. There are no other real threats on Florida State's schedule, which is as weak start-to-finish as Yuengling. Yeah, I said something about Yuengling. Fight me, people who like something that tastes like rainwater scraped off the top of a car battery.

    4. BAYLOR

    You have criticisms of Baylor. That defense, you say, has holes? Well, Art Briles would beg to differ, but while he's thinking of an answer, why don't you have a touchdown?

    But, you say, won't that be hard to sustain over the course of an entire season? Well, it might be, but that's such a good question that you should probably just sit down and have another touchdown.

    It almost seems like you think touchdowns will fix everything, Art. Is that true? Well, buddy, there's only one way to find out. They fixed plenty in a 61-58 win over TCU. And Baylor's not running short of them any time soon.

    Threats: Next week at West Virginia, which might be able to keep up with Baylor for a bit. Oklahoma. And last year's ruiner of Baylor's endless touchdown spree, the Oklahoma State Cowboys.


    Notre Dame, because honestly the Irish are going to have to straight-up clobber Florida State next week to get any serious consideration in the Playoff, until somebody else loses.



    Georgia Tech, which lost to Duke, 31-25.

    Arizona, which missed a game-winning field goal kick as time expired in a 28-26 loss to USC.

    TCU, losers of a pretty decent college basketball game to Baylor.


    Alabama, though running for fewer yards against Arkansas than Texas Tech did is an alarming sign.

    Oregon, who beat UCLA handily.

    Oklahoma, winners of the Red River Rivalry.


    Michigan State? TCU? Can we put TCU and Michigan State in a kind of unsanctioned pit fight and see what happens? That would be delightful, if totally illegal.

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  • 10/12/14--09:18: BLATANT HOMERISM: LSU
  • WALT


    1. We didn't watch the game. We were in Michigan, another team beset by poor play, incompetent management, and a sudden lack of people who can play football. They played another team with a sudden paucity of operational football players. Michigan won, but when two half-stocked football rosters combine the results feel just a little above random, and inconclusive. You could have told us this morning that Penn State won that game and we would have believed you. It would have felt just as right--which is to say, not right at all.

    2. Someone told us that Florida was leading late and I made this laugh out loud without really controlling what was happening:

    3. This paragraph is cut and pasted from several other repeating nightmares: teams doing things they previously were incapable of doing prior to playing Florida, like Leonard Fournette running the ball like he was supposed to all along for LSU, or the Tigers gaining 41 yards on 3rd and 25 against our defense; Jeff Driskel turning the ball over in crucial situations, again; crippling, stupid, and bitterly timed personal fouls; a random event bouncing the opponent's way at the worst possible moment. You make your own luck in life, and Will Muschamp football teams manufacture a highly radioactive variety capable of killing bystanders at a distance of a hundred miles.

    The same bad thing happened again and will continue to happen and nothing has changed no matter how many different pieces land in the same rotten, stupid slots of a machine designed by an inept architect. Florida has lost nine of their last twelve games. This is a low and there will be more before it is over. We say this every fucking week. Every motherfucking week.

    4. We're glad Latroy Pittman is okay because that looked terrifying.

    5. There are only six more games of this, so be nice to the players. It's not their fault. You don't even have to watch. We don't want to watch, because it is unwatchable like a middle school band recital. This team is the clarinet player squeaking their reed every time they come close to hitting a note. They are Portsmouth Sinfonia, and you are under no obligation to listen. This is strictly for the hardcore who like watching a joke played out to its least tolerable theoretical limits. This is bad, very bad football. This is football Kabul and the rubble is no place to take your wife and kids on a weekend when you could be doing something else. That would be doing everything wrong in life.

    6. We are going to homecoming against Mizzou because we do everything wrong in life.

    7. Fire Will Muschamp. Go Gators.

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    Ahhhhh, Nick Saban's arms getting all flappy as he talks about getting pissed off and scares everyone in the room. Like the sound of geese in formation squawking over your house.

    WE THINK DAN WOULD BE FINE BUT DOESN'T REALLY GET ALONG WITH FOLEY REPORTEDLY DOT COM. It's a nice idea to want Dan Mullen as Florida's head coach, but there are a few problems with this. Like for instance--

    --fine, fine, just get the damn checkbook and paperwork. Get it now. YOU GO RUN AND GET THAT DAMN CHECKBOOK RIGHT NOW, FOLEY.

    SPEAKING OF THAT. Oh cool, we're going to play two quarterbacks against MIzzou because Will Muschamp is the kind of dumbass who thinks doubling up condoms makes you safer when you're about to have sex with a blender. Why would anyone be having sex with a blender, sir? We don't know, ask Big Dumb Will Muschamp, he's the one doing perverted dumb stuff in the kitchen.

    A VERY SPECIAL IT'S MELTDOWN TIME! Mostly because Alabama fans get to put Auburn fans first, because Auburn lost, something they might mention a few times over the coming week.

    HEYYY AYYYY AY EEE YAAAYYY. "You, um, wanna hang out? Sell me some weed? You know, the weed you sell, out of your campus apartment on 1620 College Lane? Like the weed you sold to me? No? Awww, horsefeathers." (For the record, 112 grams ain't a lot.)

    IN FURTHER OBVIOUS AND POINTLESS NON-NEWS: Jameis Winston may have signed things, call the NCAA with their army OH YOU HAVEN'T GOT ONE THAT'S RIGHT.

    ETC: Alex Honnold is not human.

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  • 10/14/14--08:49: R.I.P., TOO FULL OF BAMA GUY
  • <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe>

    Tommy Lewis, the fullback who in the 1954 Cotton Bowl came off the bench to tackle Rice running back Dicky Maegle and temporarily prevent a certain touchdown, died this past Sunday at the age of 83. When asked why he did it, Lewis replied that he was "too full of Alabama." We don't know why anyone would consider any of this to be ignominious: coming off the bench to make a tackle is the ultimate team play, particularly when you explain it with an explanation that will outlive all of us. Lewis, like most people who have done insane things on a football field, was a nice, perfectly normal person in the real world, and said he regretted the play for the rest of his life. He shouldn't have.

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    In Ann Arbor the mood is the wrong kind of unhappy.

    He uses the word bum. I have never heard the word bum in a football stadium, at least not in the 21st century, but this 40-ish fan in a Michigan jersey is using it. He's yelling at Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg at the top of his lungs.


    He will say this about 15 more times in the game, always punctuated the same way, with CHRISTIAN HACKENBERG as a question, and YER A BUM! as the answer, always ending on a jolt. At one point he goes so far to walk down at least 15 rows, lean over the black, waist-high iron gate separating the stands from the field, and yell it out at Hackenberg from close range.

    He sounds like a man from 1927 heckling Calvin Coolidge, but that works. Michigan Stadium opened in 1927, and its skeleton still resembles that of a stadium built for a time when the press huddled on the sidelines to report, games had to be played at noon to finish before dark, and advertising anything but brute violence and frequent punting was an accident. It is a low, sloping bowl built with no thought of making money, containing noise, or distancing the players from the fans. (To illustrate that last point: I could have thrown a glass bottle into the Penn State bench if I had one. Someone, at one drunken point in the stadium's history, certainly has.)

    Michigan Stadium, and by extension Michigan football, is extravagant in the way only an institution with a long, well-remembered past can be. The stadium did not have luxury suites until 2010, and didn't host a night football game until 2011. (For contrast: LSU has been playing night games in Tiger Stadium since 1931.) The pressbox and suites and big screens aren't intrusive, but it wouldn't feel wrong to call Michigan Stadium college football's only real steampunk arena. The old and the new are both there, but when combined in one form, all you see is the outline of something that in the present is a profligate waste of marketable space, space otherwise devoted to providing clean, cramped sightlines to a football game.

    The only things between the goal lines in Michigan Stadium that can be bought or sold are the seats, and the things the people in those seats eat, drink, and wear. There's something beautiful and naive about the 1927 Michigan football experience's refusal to mess with that experience.

    This is the year 2014, though, and someone has all too happily done just that.


    Let's start the 2014 Michigan Stadium Experience with the basics, like walking through the black iron gates and noticing that they're handing out water. There is free water at Michigan Stadium today for the Penn State game. The water costs $4.50 inside Michigan Stadium on most game days, a recent innovation after athletic director Dave Brandon banned bringing empty water bottles into the stadium in 2010, citing "security concerns."

    Today some of the water was free, though. That was big news, because very few things about Michigan football in 2014 are free now. Take the student section, for instance. For a home slate of Appalachian State, Miami (Ohio), Utah, Minnesota, Penn State, Indiana, and Maryland, students pay $295 each, an increase of one hundred dollars over the previous fee. That price is currently the most expensive in the Big Ten.

    (By comparison, USC charges $175 for six home games in the expensive consumer space of Los Angeles. Last year's national title winners, Florida State, don't even charge a fee for student tickets beyond the basic athletics fee included in tuition.)

    For that price hike, students already crammed into a sad quesadilla slice of territory got a new general admission policy, one erasing the seniority system Michigan had used for years. That policy reversed when everyone in the known universe despised it, but that price-slicing of Michigan Stadium happens elsewhere in a lot of different ways. Take the large ticket blocks reserved for corporate partners that leave people who've had season tickets for the better part of a century sitting around people they don't know. You can spot them pretty easily; they're like guests at a Catholic mass, in that they have no idea when to stand or sit throughout the services.

    The water is free today, though. The kosher dogs cost $6, and the popcorn, sold in maize-and-blue boxes labeled "Popped Maize," costs $5. A souvenir cup costs $8. A non-club level season ticket can run as much as $2,100, and a single ticket for the upcoming Indiana game can cost $115.

    They will not probably not cost you this, unless you just like paying face value for things on principle. Michigan tickets are now sold via Groupon, and in discount bundles, and in infamous botched ticket giveaways like the one prior to the Minnesota game, when the purchase of two Coca-Cola products got you admission.

    At a tailgate -- one of the ones not sporting a "FIRE DAVE BRANDON" poster -- a season ticket-holder laughed when I asked him about the Coca-Cola fiasco and his particular run-in with the Brandon administration.

    "I paid $1,100 dollars for my season tickets. And then I see you're giving them away for a game for a few cokes? And I'm like, why did I buy them in the first place?"

    So even as they pile into Michigan Stadium and snicker about the free water, Michigan fans are not happy, and not happy to a degree that exceeds even the usual Michigan grumpiness.

    That's an important delineation here. The normal Michigan crankiness involves the complaints that all fanbases spanning a wide age range involve: that they do not run the ball enough, that the stadium speakers play music too loudly and too frequently now, that someone's knees stick into your back in the cramped stands, even with the rows of empty seats visible here and there. We don't run the ball enough. Bo, sainted Bo Schembechler, would never, ever have let a team not run the ball like this.

    Those are normal complaints, the kind of ideological complaints any fanbase has in variation. See "Any older portion of the fanbase wondering why they're playing hip-hop where there are children," or "Team raised on fierce offense and naked aggression gets saddled with a dullard defensive coach." That might be me talking about Florida, because it is. The point is that every fanbase is unhappy in its own unique key. When Alabama fans are unhappy, it is because a linebacker has just missed a tackle or because someone has unleashed the horror of a passing touchdown on them. When Michigan is unhappy, it is cold, someone is edging onto your seat cushion, and someone has just done something deeply unSchembechler-ish.

    The abnormal grievances, the ones indicative of a real theological schism in the church of Michigan, come from the older gentleman standing up when Michigan takes a timeout -- with one second left on the clock in the first half and Penn State leaving for the locker rooms -- and yelling:


    Grievances of that severity can't hide. They become a matter of public fact when 10,000 signatures appear on a petition to get the athletic director fired at a place noted for an outsized sense of its own branded civility. Hell, they become clear when more than 10 percent of the stadium knows the athletic director's name at all, much less wants his head to come barreling down the concrete steps of Section 44.

    They come to a boiling point when a Minnesota defensive tackle runs helmet-first into the chin of Michigan's backup QB, and what should be a simple concussion evaluation becomes the flashpoint for a public firefight about the basic competence of everyone involved.

    At Coach and Four, the barbershop where Bo Schembechler used to get his haircut, the old dudes drinking PBR and shooting the shit at 2 p.m. on a Friday prior to a gameday would rather be talking hockey, and not football. One of them hands me a beer while I wait for a haircut. I ask him if he goes to games anymore. He shakes his head no.

    "Why go to the game when I can walk to my house, sit in my leather chair, have cold beer in my fridge, and a half-clean john to use?"

    I ask if he still tailgates.

    "Oh, well, yeah. Of course. I'm gonna tailgate. But then I'm going home."


    Fortunately, the Wolverines are playing Penn State. The Nittany Lions have a rebuilt offensive line incapable of passing even the most corrupt building inspector's exam and a quarterback, Hackenberg, who rarely has longer than a gunshot's breath to throw the ball. They barely have a run game to complement their nano-passing game, and just lost to Northwestern, 29-6. Things may be bad for Penn State, too, and that's where Michigan football is as a nation state right now: hoping the next someone is even more of a derelict than it is, then praying to survive the collision.

    For example, there are two touchdowns in the game. The last happens with 11:58 left in the second quarter. That's it. Penn State and Michigan both eat all of their popcorn before the movie even starts, then spend the rest of the time scrounging at the unpopped kernels in search of nourishment. Devin Gardner appears to be the Benjamin Button of one-time blue-chip quarterbacks; his time at Michigan has aged him backwards. He remains the kind of fiery leader willing to throw himself out there time and time again, even though playing under three offensive coordinators has left him with the field awareness of a freshman.

    It got worse before it got better, and then the game just refused to comply at all. Hackenberg might have thrown two balls further than 15 yards down the field all night. Gardner went out with an injury, and his replacement, Russell Bellomy, threw two passes total. One of those was almost intercepted for a surefire pick-six, but not even the defenses got to enjoy this game.

    The highlight of the second half was watching James Franklin call one of the worst fake punts I have ever seen, on a fourth-and-11. No, wait. Watching Penn State burn a timeout to save a yard before taking an intentional safety to get the ball and attempt an onside, then lose that successful onside kick, was more darkly entertaining than anything else that happened.

    The kindest conventional thing to say about the game would be that the kickers didn't miss on any of their five attempts. The meanest thing to say would be that the highlight was the field goal kicking. Despite calling a nonsensical timeout to make Penn State run a play on fourth down, despite only getting 12 first downs, and despite rushing for an average of 2.1 yards per carry, Michigan somehow won.

    When Penn State looked to have recovered that onside kick, a kind of bitter cackling and resigned nodding kicked in around the stadium. That moment felt like the real summary: an outstanding act of comedic futility, followed by its merciful end.

    Michigan allegedly won, but I watched the whole thing. Someone scored more points than someone else. No one won.


    Only two moments from an otherwise regrettable game felt perfect. The first: Dennis Norfleet, kick returner and receiver, dancing to "Atomic Dog," a song introduced on the two screens as "requested by Dennis Norfleet."

    That's something many Michigan fans might not really like, in theory. It involves someone other than the band playing music and a player taking a moment away from the historical reverie many seem to want Michigan Stadium to be.

    It was also the only thing I can say was unironically fun. Whatever kind of throwback Michigan wants to be, it should leave some room for a tiny kick returner who wants to dance to George Clinton. It should leave room for things that Bo Schembechler might not have known about or even condoned. That's possible, and good, and can be organic and compatible with whatever Michigan is. After all, Schembechler wrote that he would have voted for Dave Brandon for public office, something most Michigan fans at this point would rather cut themselves with a rusty butter knife than do.

    The other perfect thing: the halftime show, played by the band in the dark with the stadium lights cut, and with the band lit by beach ball-sized LED globes and lights. The announced crowd was allegedly over 100,000, a number no one really believes anymore due to the administration's desire to preserve the streak of games with six-figure attendances. The show finished with Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory," played in the dark as blue and yellow lights flickered in the student section.

    I'm on the edge of glory, and I'm hanging on a moment of truth

    Out on the edge of glory, and I'm hanging on a moment with you

    I'm on the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge,

    I'm on the edge of glory, and I'm hanging on a moment with you

    I'm on the edge with you.

    I don't know what's over the theoretical edge here: a cliff, maybe another steeper cliff falling into oblivion. It might be Dan Mullen, or another coach who won't fit, or another who will but who won't win on the field. Maybe Jim Harbaugh is over that ledge, a Schembechler disciple nearly every Michigan fan acknowledges will be a total dick, yes, but at least he's our kind of dick. Considering how fractured the university's been about football since 2007 and Lloyd Carr's departure, there may be nothing over that edge at all.

    Michigan feels like a place that has a legitimate gripe with the detestable present, yet an unhealthy relationship with the past. That moment in the dark felt right, like the entire place wants to just keep the lights off for a while, and wait for the light of day to think things through about where it goes.

    When the game was over, they played "Sweet Caroline" over the loudspeakers like they do at Red Sox games. Some people grumped to the exits. Some sang along like they'd won something.

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    BYU's a family friendly program, and nothing's more family than wasting a day in Orlando.

    I assume it's called the Carrier Dome because Syracuse has some sort of football disease.

    FSU fans complain that we're overlooking this team, but we're just following the Tallahassee Police Department rules and regs.

    Kliff Kingsbury, the last time a man that pretty went into the mountains and lost a fight to a hillbilly with a rifle Ned Beatty ended up playing porkboy in his skivvies.

    Between the State Fair food and the Longhorn offense, it's amazing what a Texan body can survive on.

    Course, you can tell Bob Stoops doesn't have a winning record against fried food.

    Funny how Charlie Strong kicked Oklahoma back into the game.

    If you're ranking aerial disappointments, I think you've gotta have "Oklahoma quarterbacks" neck and neck with "US Air."

    Just remember, SMU: Mack Brown can turn any school into a safety school

    Signatures are frowned on in Athens because that's how you wind up scheduling a loss to Colorado.

    Don't feel bad about getting shut out at home, Mizzou. Those mortgage terms are tricky. Still pitched a shutout, though. #GoCards

    It's 2014, and Kentucky's got the same record as Georgia in something besides "pills."

    Paul Johnson told David Cutcliffe to mind his own business, so he did, and that's why David Cutcliffe's House Of Assbeatin' Dorks is Durham's finest purveyor of humilatin' beatdowns.

    Do something nice for a stranger today, like buying their coffee at Starbucks or firing them from the Buffalo job.

    Just when you think it can't get worse for Will Muschamp, Iowa scores 45 points.

    You can tell Tommy Tuberville coaches the Cincinnati defense because they leave after ten minutes without even sayin' a word.

    Auburn had so much trouble gettin' into the Mississippi State end zone you'd think it was a Georgia satellite campus.

    Don't worry about bad press with a loss this weekend, Notre Dame, no one reports it when a Seminole beats you in Leon County.

    Art Briles is banned from casino blackjack because even 21 isn't a safe hand around him

    If you need a housesitter, give UCLA a call. They've been keeping the Rose Bowl tidy for its January residents for years now.

    "knock knock/ who's there/ coach mora/ coach mora who/ coach mora them Ducks just scored on you" Damn right I wrote that one on the wall of a Cracker Barrel bathroom.

    I don't know what Alabama fans are so disappointed about. A 14-13 matchup between Alabama and Arkansas usually results in a baby grandma ends up raising.

    "13 points against Michigan" is one way to vacate a win, Penn State.

    JFK shoulda played quarterback for Brady Hoke. He'd be the starter a week after Dallas.

    Make that few points in 60 minutes, James Franklin, and you could be the next David Simon series.

    Had to be a sad day at Gainesville Elementary when Will Muschamp's teacher asked him to put seven on the board

    He'll survive until the end of the year, though, because Jeremy Foley never saw Ole Yeller.

    Michigan fans, I bet you laughed at Rich Rodriguez ending a game on the wrong foot.

    Vanderbilt beat Charleston Southern, but wait until they have to play a non-regional decor magazine.

    I'd be surprised at Texas A&M struggling, but it's not like you remember those guys at the Alamo for winnin', do you?

    Time to apologize to your asshole granddad now that the Rebels finally won a military engagement.

    Pac-12's got more missed kicks than Nick Saban's time as a Rockette.

    Oh, I'm just kidding. Rockettes gotta be 5'6".

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    The Shutdown Fullcast with ourselves, Jason Kirk, and Ryan Nanni this week includes such topics as:

    • We finally talk about Florida State, and whether Chad Henne could hit the earth with a spear
    • A brief discussion of how damn dappled everything in Michigan is
    • Jason likes a game with many points! (TCU/Baylor
    • An explanation of "go for two" is a principle Bret Bielema obeys in every facet of his life
    • We are asked who the most clownfraudulent team in the top ten, and yes it's Notre Dame
    • We are also asked a question that leads us to explain why Dana Holgorsen needs so much Red Bull (A: he is the main character in Crank.)
    • A scenario ending with the talking Olmec Head from Legends of the Hidden Temple vomiting from consuming too much alcohol
    • Florida State

    Download directly here, listen on iTunes under sports podcasts, or listen below in the Soundcloud player.


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    Presumably overjoyed over the prospect of Michigan beginning to have discussions about Dave Brandon not doing his job as Athletic Director anymore, he retired to the grass for the evening after consuming several units of alcohol. As a gentleman does.

    GURLEY MAY BE SIGNED UP FOR HOME DUTY. Richt does not anticipate having Gurley available for this week due to his suspension following the incredibly stupid autograph story that resulted in his suspension, and our considering leaving the state of Georgia forever.

    THIS WEEK IN FLORIDA FOOTBALL. Or Schadenfreude. Whatever, they're the same thing at this point.

    These of course are the most shortsighted of our fans who do not see Jeremy Foley's nine year plan, which involves Will Muschamp becoming consistently competitive for Outback Bowl slots sometime around the year 2021. You cretins aren't refined enough to see that, but that's why you're not Athletic Director or head coach. Some things just take time, like making a fine whiskey, or developing a properly arthritic joint.

    THIS IS ALL TRUE. Dan Wetzel may have been the first person to accurately thread out exactly how we feel about the Jameis Winston case.

    A HORSE'S ASS IS A SUPERB PIECE OF DECOR TO HAVE. Chris Petersen's office at Washington kind of looks like a TV news set, but it does have a horse's ass trophy in it, and that automatically rockets it to the top of all coaching office power rankings.


    ETC: Breaking Madden this week is about trying until you get it right the 344th time. Oh, does this bar have weight on it? Damn, what national park has salmon cakes? Day three and you are still CVS BANGIN'.

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    This week's rundown hopes for increased chaos output from everyone besides the West Coast conference, starting with you, Notre Dame-Florida State.


    Notre Dame vs. Florida State should get you excited, if for no other reason than this: one team has to lose and will deserve to, for one reason or another.

    Florida State has a 22-game winning streak, a quarterback incapable of making a single good decision off the field, and an inconsistent defense. It is the defending national title-holder, sitting on an undefeated record against some of the weakest competition in the nation. It is college football's John Cena. The people who love it have a palate no sane person can understand, it will not stop winning, and their defense for any wrongdoing off the field is to say, "Can't see me." Other than all that, it's a fine football team.

    The other one is Notre Dame, still on some kind of football probation following the 2012 BCS Championship against Alabama. The real phobia -- and it is so very real, with persuadable people being part of the College Football Playoff selection process -- is that Notre Dame might win this game, advance to one of the four precious slots in the Playoff, and then immediately be run down by the oncoming train of the first really good opponent it faces. This could happen, because Notre Dame gets ratings, though exactly why is a good question. Either America adores watching it get rent limb from limb, or people who don't normally pay attention to college football suddenly tune in when the Irish play.*

    *This category could include many Notre Dame fans.

    It's a fear, but a few things should allay that fear. In fact, if you are loyal only to full-blown college football anarchy, you want Notre Dame to beat Florida State in Tallahassee this weekend. You want it close, mind you; nothing too decisive, and nothing making the decision at the end of the season too simple. Everett Golson scrambles late for a TD, or makes a fourth-and-11 play as he did against Stanford. Maybe, just for history's bitter sake, a Florida State field goal that flies wide right.

    The point is that you want it close, and then you want the following things to happen, for maximum disorder:

    • Notre Dame beats Florida State, then loses to Arizona State, USC, or Louisville.
    • Florida State whips through the rest of its schedule and finishes with one loss.
    • Baylor does something silly like losing to WVU, then beats Oklahoma.
    • The SEC West digests itself and has everyone finish with at least one loss.

    All of that is totally realistic, but it matters much less without Notre Dame beating Florida State in Tallahassee this weekend. This Mardi Gras float's brake lines are right there, Irish. Cut them, and we won't tell anyone who did it.


    There is also an outside shot at UVA being ACC champion at this point. Georgia Tech is also still very much in play. The ACC is, and has been, the most underrated office comedy on television for quite some time now.


    The Pac-12 has already complied neatly with its requirements for a year of total chaos, and for that and more we should thank it.

    A little-known fact about the Pac-12: due to TV arrangements, every single game has been played at 10:30 p.m. ET. Don't look back at previous weeks' schedules. They're all lies. And though normal people go to bed around then, it's been glorious knowing that after the 7 o'clock games, lying in wait somewhere on ESPN or the Pac-12 Network, there is utter West Coast madness.

    So far, the Adult Swim Pac-12 slate has produced Wazzu losing a late heartbreaker to Rutgers, UCLA nearly losing at home to Memphis (MEMPHIS!), Wazzu losing a late heartbreaker to Oregon, Arizona beating Cal on a Hail Mary, Wazzu losing a late heartbreaker to Cal in a game in which Connor Halliday threw for almost a half-mile's worth of yards, Arizona State stealing a rollicking game from USC on a Hail Mary, Utah handing UCLA its first defeat, and Arizona ripping Oregon's national title hopes out of the Ducks' hands.


    So if you missed that same Arizona team making the most difficult kick (an onside) and missing one of its easiest (a chipshot field goal) in its first loss, last week against USC, it's not too late.

    Stanford beat Arizona State twice last year, thanks to a rematch in the Pac-12 title game, and neither one was particularly competitive. This is the Pac-12 in 2014, though, so expect some total reversal like Stanford suddenly discovering 500 yards passing, or Arizona State (still likely playing with backup quarterback Mike Berkovici) turning into a defensive juggernaut with zero offense.

    TL;DR: Eyes Wide Shut is on replay every single week in the Pac-12, and they show everything, man.


    Emoji time, Tar Heels!


    That's for you, North Carolina, because your defense is ranked 103rd in defensive FEI, just gave up 50 to Notre Dame, and now has to put its face into the path of Georgia Tech's Bush Hog of an offense.

    UNC's defense isn't merely bad; it's, like, 2011 Kansas Jayhawks defense bad. That defense allowed 50 or more points four times, something the Tar Heels have already done three times this season (50, 50, and 70 points respectively against Notre Dame, Clemson, and East Carolina). Georgia Tech scored 66 points on that 2011 Kansas football team, and Larry Fedora might just want to let the XBox call the defense this game. It can't be any worse than what's happening already.

    New Haven

    The birth town of Michael Bolton, provider of the soundtrack for Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban this week:

    Not happy, no, but working on it and asking questions like "How can we stop fighting?" and "How can we start over when the fighting never ends?" and "Why the hell can't a team with Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon just drop a train on its opponents at any time?" Texas A&M's defense is still a glorified pair of barn doors, but that won't matter if Kiffin refuses to drive EL TRACTORCITO straight through them. (For the record: El Tractorcito, aka Alabama running back Henry, had seven carries last week. FREE DERRICK HENRY.)


    "A full, lead-lined radiation suit; cobalt-tinted blast goggles; 20 gallons of clean drinking water in a lead-lined, vacuum-sealed reservoir; canned food to last for two weeks, minimum; satellite phone; full range of antibiotics; temporary fireproof shelters; emergency vaccine kit; whatever guns you can carry, plus adequate ammo; snacks."

    "What I need to survive watching UCLA at Cal?"



    Arkansas at Georgia presents a panoply of ways Arkansas could lose in an agonizing fashion. (Again.) Let's look at the odds:

    • 5/1 on failed early two-point conversion that comes back to haunt
    • 8/1 on missed field goal following successful field goal called dead
    • 12/1 on tragic late fumble
    • 17/1 on fumbling through endzone on last-ditch winning TD drive
    • 35/1 on Bret Bielema being served warrant and arrested for unpaid parking tickets midway through third quarter
    • 50/1 on Alabama false start call, somehow
    • 100/1 on winning the thing outright, everyone being happy, and everything being okay for a week
    • 4/1 on rain of frogs cancelling game (standard odds for all Arkansas games)


    Will Muschamp is going to start two quarterbacks against Mizzou. Which is more frightening: that Will Muschamp is allowed to shoot randomly if he feels threatened in the state of Florida, or that he's allowed to start two quarterbacks, ever? Probably the latter, since Will Muschamp only hits targets if he writes, "FOUR WINS AND A LOSS TO GEORGIA," on them.


    As in Johnson, a thousand-yard receiver for the 2007 Kentucky Wildcats football team. That was the last Kentucky team to beat LSU, in a 43-37 win over the eventual BCS champions. Circle back to the beginning of this piece and remember that Kentucky winning things is generally associated with a year in which everything goes delightfully off course.

    Your word this week: CVS BANGERS, of course.

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    MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES OVER AND OVER AGAIN. We mean, it's not technically a garbage truck, but one of those haulers they use to tote demolished buildings and slag out of construction sites, and yes sometimes trash, and FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, WILL. THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW.

    When did we start doing everything horribly. When. YES WE'RE IN GAINESVILLE AND THEY'RE STILL PLAYING DISHWALLA AND MATCHBOX 20 HERE.

    SOMETIMES IT'S BETTER TO PRETEND. Punt Brothers believes that about football, and yes, if we were Jane and a Michigan fan we'd believe that, too. Look! College basketball! We don't know what that is, really, but it's here!

    ACROSTICAL PRAISES PAC-12 FOR RIGHT AND WRONG REASONS. The opening's all about the ultimate chaos roadmap this season, a map that comes down to Notre Dame beating Florida State this weekend, but the fun part is writing about how the Pac-12 has been the most entertaining football in the country for seven weeks running.

    LOOK IT'S SOMEONE GEORGIANS LOVE AND ALSO OUR TYPICALLY HORRIBLE GOVERNOR. Todd Gurley has become a political football in Georgia, with gubernatorial candidates each proclaiming their desire to Free Todd Gurley from the stupid prison of NCAA rules. Neither will do anything about it, ever.

    BOBBY BOWDEN KNOWS SOME VERY UNIQUE GRAMMAR SCHOOL KIDS. Bobby Bowden on Jameis Winston and the crab leg obsessed children of his neighborhood grammar school.

    LEGEND. A fan who tackled a Stanford player for Wazzu back in the Seventies might have been one of the better defensive players to ever take the field for the Cougars.

    ETC: Kate Nolan gets drunk!

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  • 10/18/14--21:32: BLATANT HOMERISM: MIZZOU


    After losing 42-13 to Mizzou on homecoming night in the new new low of lows, only two players came over for the alma mater: punter Kyle Christy, and lineman Trip Thurman. I can't write anything sadder than that image. I can't write anything with more hope than that image, either.

    (Photo by Stranko Montana)

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    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 Top 25 polls. If you get mad about this, you will be pointed to the previous sentence.


    Beat Notre Dame in a 31-27 thriller, confirming much of what you already suspected about the Seminoles: that they can be outgained by almost 150 yards, allow the opponent to dominate much of the game, and lay low until the fourth quarter, when their quarterback is capable of ripping off, like, 15 of 16 completions with ease for a last-ditch win we'll all decide was the result of their inherent winner-ness. Or something like that.

    They are undefeated, beat the best team on their schedule, and are still undefeated. Flaws and bizarre Jimbo Fisher postgame speeches and all, the Seminoles are in the Playoff until they're not.

    Threats: Louisville next week on the road is a huge flashing alarm light for the Noles, particularly when you remember that the Cardinals field the nation's statistically most efficient defense. And after that, there's Virginia, which only beats Florida State once in a blue moon when it would be really, really funny to do so. Right now, it would be really, really funny if UVA beat Florida State. Watch your ass, Jimbo.

    2. OLE MISS

    It's fun to kvetch about how Bo Wallace and the offense will eventually (in theory) let Ole Miss down, but let us as a response refer you to this number: zero yards. That is Tennessee's rushing total from the Rebels' 34-3 win over the Volunteers, a team that is bad at running the ball, yes, but THAT'S STILL ZERO YARDS. IN A COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME.

    If Bo Wallace struggles at quarterback, just put Robert Nkemdiche back there for a series and see who dares to take even a halfhearted run at him.

    Threats: A still-burly stretch run through LSU next, then Auburn and Mississippi State. The SEC West remains a deeply unkind place.


    Wisely elected not to play football this week.

    Threats: Next week at Kentucky was a popular upset pick prior to the Wildcats losing by 38 to LSU, a team Mississippi State absolutely hammered for much of their game. That leaves a road trip to Alabama and the Egg Bowl in Oxford as the Bulldogs' last significant tests prior to a potential SEC title game against [REJECTED FOOTBALL PARTS FROM SEC EAST].


    You have to have a one-loss team in here, unless you want Marshall. Notre Dame gets the nod, thanks to coming one botched offensive play call away from beating the Seminoles in Tallahassee.

    Notre Dame's not thrilling, but they are balanced, productive, and won't make you look too bad in a one-game Playoff situation. You go on the road and lose by a thin margin and two overzealous blocks in the endzone, you don't deserve to be dropped entirely from the picture.

    Now that faith has been expressed towards the Irish, watch them lose to Northwestern.

    Threats: A stupid blindside loss to Northwestern, though Arizona State on November 8 in Tempe seems like a deeply hazardous game for anyone.


    Oregon, whose 45-20 beating of Washington is impressive.

    Alabama, whose 59-0 Franchione Special-ing of Texas A&M is frightening because maybe Bama is that good, or maybe Texas A&M is just that adrift and on fire in the water.

    Michigan State, whose 56-17 win over Indiana was done while visibly yawning.

    Ohio State, a team whose title hopes likely hinge on everyone forgetting it lost to a mediocre Virginia Tech team.

    Georgia, which is basically Ohio State but with "South Carolina" subbed for the Hokies.

    Auburn, TCU, Nebraska, Kansas State, Utah, and like a thousand other teams, including undefeated and hopelessly weak-scheduled Marshall.


    Pretty much. Pack your asbestos speedo, because all of this will catch fire and you're just going to have to swim through the flames with the rest of us.


    Baylor, now saddled by offensive line injuries and coming off a 41-27 loss on the road to West Virginia.


    We know. We'll never believe it, but we know.

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