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- 10/20/14--09:36: _NOTES FROM WATCHING...
- 10/21/14--08:09: _THE CURIOUS INDEX, ...
- 10/22/14--07:04: _THE CURIOUS INDEX, ...
- 10/22/14--09:43: _SHUTDOWN FULLCAST: ...
- 10/24/14--09:55: _MARYLAND FOOTBALL F...
- 10/26/14--04:43: _College Football Pl...
- 10/27/14--14:17: _TODAY'S FLIGHTAWARE...
- 10/28/14--07:13: _The Acrostical, Wee...
- 10/28/14--07:58: _THE CURIOUS INDEX, ...
- 10/28/14--11:58: _HATIN' ASS SPURRIER...
- 10/28/14--17:21: _MISSISSIPPI STATE I...
- 10/29/14--08:32: _SHUTDOWN FULLCAST, ...
- 10/30/14--06:38: _THE CURIOUS INDEX, ...
- 10/30/14--09:23: _ANOTHER UPDATED GUI...
- 10/30/14--12:56: _FACTOR FIVE FIVE FA...
- 10/31/14--07:22: _THE CURIOUS INDEX, ...
- 10/31/14--11:02: _Reese's candies, ra...
- 10/31/14--12:56: _THE FIVE SCARIEST F...
- 11/02/14--05:07: _College Football Pl...
- 11/03/14--10:00: _BLATANT HOMERISM: V...
- 10/20/14--09:36: NOTES FROM WATCHING A VERY BAD FOOTBALL TEAM LOSE VERY BADLY
- 10/21/14--08:09: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 10/21/2014
- 10/22/14--07:04: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 10/22/2014
- 10/22/14--09:43: SHUTDOWN FULLCAST: THE NOTRE DAME CONSPIRACY CONTINUES
- Notre Dame conspiracy theories
- Why every school should have a five minute venting period in front of media
- Which teams are everyone's primary rival
- The three overachieving teams we actually like and say nice things about for once
- Why the entire week nine schedule can go to hell
- Which hip-hop celebrity is a universal translating robot in bike shorts.
- 10/24/14--09:55: MARYLAND FOOTBALL FLIES UPRIGHT
- SEC fan: "Stop laughing, Kentucky would win the Big Ten, y'all."
- Pac-12 fan: "No, it's pretty cool that your Oregon State doesn't even have to play a nine-game schedule to get in the national title conversation. Hope you enjoy humidity and not having In-N-Out."
- Big 12 fan: "Let me check and see what Texas wants us to say about this."
- ACC fan: [file not found]
- Big Ten fan: "Feelings are a pernicious lie of the ultimate traitor: human consciousness. The SEC cheats."
- TCU SCORED 82 POINTS ON TEXAS TECH. Legally, any time you score more than 80 points, it should appear in all-caps.
- Alabama, proud owners of a satisfying, 34-20 win over Tennessee.
- Michigan State, victors and champions of the (relative) West, beating Michigan 35-11.
- Auburn, whose 42-35 win over South Carolina was among the least responsible and most enjoyable ways to spend four football quarters this weekend.
- Kansas State blanked Texas, 23-0, and yes, you're damn right Bill Snyder was polite enough to give Charlie Strong a written receipt to keep for his financial records.
- Arizona outpaced Washington State, 59-37, but then again most teams do.
- Nebraska, which beat Rutgers, 42-24, but who could still reach Bo Pelini's usual mark of 9-4.
- Utah, which beat USC, 24-21, but whose lone loss is to a bad two-win Washington State
- Arizona State, a one-loss team whose one loss was a huge, flat-flop 62-27 fiasco at home against a two-loss UCLA team.
- 10/27/14--14:17: TODAY'S FLIGHTAWARE UPDATES
- 10/28/14--07:13: The Acrostical, Week 9: The value of staying angry forever
- Plastic grocery bags handed out to remind everyone to "put the rest of the season in the bag." Result: locker room resembles sad strip mall parking lot.
- Rubber bands worn around wrist to call to mind the need to "bend, but not break." Result: countless arm hairs torn out at root, in-class disciplinary measures after rubber band wars break out mid-lecture.
- Bury steak under practice field to "put the beef to rest" and illustrate need to overcome disputes on team. Result: stray dogs digging huge hole in practice field, vultures circling coaching tower. (Might be appropriate.)
- Hand out "deeds" to the offensive line to declare "ownership" of the line of scrimmage. Result: left guard convicted of real estate fraud for taking tax exemption on home in "line of scrimmage, [YOUR STATE HERE.]"
- Kentucky, a startlingly physical team that'll go to a bowl.
- Iowa, sitting at 5-2 no matter what your eyeballs saw happen on the field.
- Minnesota, which lost to Illinois but is somehow still 6-2 even though Illinois losses should count twice in the standings.
- Utah, 6-1 via the Ugly Football Protocol.
- And finally, Nebraska, a 7-1 team with almost no national buzz whatsoever.
- Virginia Tech, owners of the country's least potent offense (coordinated by Scot Loeffler) not toiling away in Gainesville.
- Texas Tech, who just emptied TCU's stadium fireworks supply for the year.
- BYU, a sabotaged 4-4 after the injury to QB Taysom Hill.
- Washington State, a 2-6 team containing zero ability to play defense whatsoever.
- And Texas A&M, the only team to go from national title candidate in Week 1 to retooling project in Week 8.
- 10/28/14--07:58: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 10/28/14
- 10/28/14--11:58: HATIN' ASS SPURRIER BURIES WEEK NINE IN THE ENDZONE
- 10/28/14--17:21: MISSISSIPPI STATE IS IN THE BIG 8
- 10/29/14--08:32: SHUTDOWN FULLCAST, WEEK NINE: A HEFTY DOSE OF F-MARSHALL
- How the committee did a pretty good job
- How everyone hates Notre Dame again
- Which coaches would make good defense attorneys
- How Dr. Bo came to the decision he made at the end of the LSU game
- The "Texas 2014 Theory," i.e. why you bet on the team with nothing over a team loaded down by the debts of mediocrity.
- 10/30/14--06:38: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 10/30/2014
- 10/30/14--09:23: ANOTHER UPDATED GUIDE TO THE COCKTAIL PARTY
- Peeing behind a truck three feet from a woman peeing with her whole ass out, and exchanging understanding glances about mutual but embarrassing public nudity before walking away and later talking to each other at the tailgate like nothing had happened
- Watching people of astonishing difference in age dance provocatively with each other, and later disappear to have sex they won't tell anyone about
- Seeing a drunk middle-aged white man do the wobble on top of an abandoned shipping container
- Buying weed off an old woman running the church parking lot you parked in one time
- Doing it again the following year, and hugging them like they were family
- Telling someone Fireball was really just cinnamon schnapps in disguise and watching them go NAWWWWWW
- Having a very drunk black lady pat you appreciatively on the shoulder and say, "You know what I like about you? You're WHITE."
- 10/30/14--12:56: FACTOR FIVE FIVE FACTOR PREVIEW: FLORIDA STATE AT LOUISVILLE
- 10/31/14--07:22: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 10/31/2014
- 10/31/14--11:02: Reese's candies, ranked
- 10/31/14--12:56: THE FIVE SCARIEST FILMS FOR YOUR HALLOWEEN EVENING
- 11/02/14--05:07: College Football Playoff threat watch: Talkin' 'bout the Noles
- 11/03/14--10:00: BLATANT HOMERISM: VOLTAIRE AND FIREHORSE DEBATE FLORIDA/GEORGIA
NOW IT'S JUST FUNNY
1. This is not objective. Please don't pretend it is. There is the thing where you write about someone else's team, and then there is the thing where you write about your team, the one you spend money and time and worst of all emotional energy on because of some loyalty chip soldered long ago into your mainframe.
2. The most horrifying sequence of offensive football I have ever seen in my life happened on Saturday in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The box score play-by-play mentions it dispassionately, highlighted in bold like you'd nonchalantly mention "Ferry sinks, 386 lost; Indonesian Navy rescue, 48 recovered."
3. You should know that things were bad before this. Mizzou took the opening kickoff and walked it 96 yards through indifferent coverage on the first play of the game. The rest of the way towards a 20-0 halftime lead for Mizzou could be characterized as Muschamp Syndrome incarnate: superb defense, grit, and peerless effort all done in vain in a losing effort. The basics were all there: turnovers, random strikes of football lightning, and one-third of a football team trying to prop up the ramshackle rest.
4. This was expected, and almost comforting. It's a custom, slow-drip/ slow-pour kind of disaster. At one point in every fan's life there is a team coached by a person who trademarks a specific variation of loss, and then serves it until the Health Department closes it forever for numerous violations of common standards. For Florida, Will Muschamp is the hardworking barista at the local coffee shop who takes your order, brews your coffee without putting the water through any caffeine of any sort, and then pours it into your cup insisting its coffee. When you point it out, he shakes his head, grimaces, and mutters: "We'll get that sorted out. We're trying, and we'll get that fixed." Then he brews and pours another cup of hot water for you wonder why you keep coming to this stupid fucking coffee shop every time.
5. Decaffeinated football couldn't surprise anymore. But the third quarter: ohhh, that was something else, something new, bold, and horrible. First, a punt return TD, which is new. Second, a fumble for TD by Jeff Driskel, brought to the turf so slowly he didn't quite fumble, but instead rolled the ball out like a Rube Goldberg machine part tipping out the ball to a bucket, which then went up and spit the ball out onto a ramp, where it finally wound its way down to a waiting Markus Golden. He trotted that in for a TD, and everyone in the stadium thought we'd seen the last of Jeff Driskel.
6. We need to talk about another syndrome of following a losing team: the exhaustion of reason. For a long time--like, maybe until November of 2013 -- I liked to think about reasonable answers to questions about why things were so bad. Maybe a team was injured; maybe it was a matter of staffing. Maybe the right quarterback, or just a change of attitude would do. Material issues had material answers, and there definitely were answers.
7. And Jeff Driskel still came out for the next series.
8. I read about a woman who went hiking in the Grand Canyon without enough water and without a map. She got lost, disoriented, and ultimately sought shelter in a cave far up in a gully where she had a drip of water to keep her alive, shade, and a space to fill with nothing but her terrified thoughts. She had reasonable thoughts of rangers, rescuers, and a system of civilized measures all certainly working to find her. When she ran out of those, though, she resorted to prayer and wild hallucinations about the spiritual neighborhood and its general attitude towards her.
9. Jeff Driskel then handed off once, completed a three-yard pass, and threw a precise pass directly into the hands of Darvin Ruise for a Mizzou touchdown.
10. And at that point, with the entire stadium's jaw on the concrete floors of the stadium, you were stuck with the kind of answers you get when the reasonable runs out and you begin openly asking baffled questions of the universe, and then offering insane explanations. Will Muschamp must hate Jeff Driskel. He must hate offense so much that he couldn't even support his own team's attack, and chose to play all-time defensive coordinator for both teams like a bored video gamer. You grab for the kind of explanations you normally avoid: this team has given up, this coaching staff has given up, and negative attitude something something something.
11. There's a reason: this kind of failure really is unique and extreme. After the game, ESPN would circulate a factoid about only 149 teams holding the other team to 120 yards of offense in the past ten years in college football. Of those, only two had lost, and both were Will Muschamp football teams. Using really rough math, the probability of that happening in that sample over the grand total of something around seven thousand FBS football games in that span of time? It's around 0.0003%. If you wonder why anyone is still writing about this, that's why.
12. Will Muschamp football is the park ranger that got struck by lightning twice in a day.
13. And after that 22 point quarter happened, and after at least half of the Swamp emptied out (at least half), the remaining fans really couldn't do anything but laugh. When Treon Harris scored his first TD, the few remaining people gave what was, like, only a half-sarcastic ovation to the offense, and they set off the scoreboard fireworks. (Or at worst, only a 60% sarcastic response.) "We Are The Boys" got shockingly loud for the paltry number of people there. Another TD, and another only sort of sarcastic ovation. It wasn't bad.
14. Honestly, in the fourth quarter, will all hope gone and the missile just inches away from making contact with the roof of Chez Muschamp, it felt all right. Without hope, you could just appreciate the intensity of the Red Baron Pizza Challenge on the Jumbotron. Again, that's the nice thing about hitting bottom in a program all too happy to sell out to every last convenience of the 21st century: there's something to watch while everything burns.
15. No, really: they set off the fireworks for both TDs. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen in a football stadium, and I watched John Brantley try to run the zone read once.
SPIT THAT HOT FIRE, LOU HOLTZ
Rece Davis speaks fourteen languages, including Lou Holtz, and we bet he doesn't even know it. We mean that: it would not shock us if Rece parachuted into the Arctic, found a village, and greeted them with fluent Inuit without realizing he was speaking their language.
AT LAST THE UBERBOWL IS HERE. The Poulan Weed Eater Bowl may have been topped at last, as the Heart of Dallas Bowl just picked up Zaxby's as their title sponsor. This means it is now the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas, the only bowl with Zappetizers, Play-Zaction Pazzes, and Zalads. We are only making one of those up as a Zaxby's product.
FALLING ASLEEP AT THE WHATABURGER DRIVE-THRU IN STILLWATER IS INTENSE BIG 12 BEHAVIOR. Jhajuan Seales and Juwan Offray were both arrested at the Whataburger in Stillwater on Sunday morning at 4 a.m., which has to be some kind of new high-water mark in Big 12 mourning strategies following a loss. The two Oklahoma State players were arrested for public intox, a kind charge given that both were totally asleep, and that Seales' foot was on the brake of a car in drive. (No word on whether they got their food or not, which would be an additional tragedy here.)
BO PELINI, SOMEWHAT ASTUTE MEDIA CRITIC. Well, we'd like to argue, but it's probably not real healthy for ESPN to have the relationship it has with the SEC when it's trying to determine a fair way to crown a champion in college football.
NUMERICAL DOES NOT FORGET ABOUT YOU, OHIO STATE. They're still right there in the national title hunt, even if they are from the Big Ten and are not Florida State, and thus technically not part of #talkinbouttheNoles.
ETC: "Hal Kreitman, a Bodybuilding, Fetish-Partying, Ex-Chiropractor, Finds New Life Swimming With Wild Alligators." We always believed Chili's was underrated for its simmering atmosphere of unchecked sensuality. Gamblers need new fashion consultants.
THAT'S GOOD HATE, MICHIGAN STATE
WILL THIS PERDITION TRAIN EVER SCHEDULE ANOTHER STOP BESIDES FAIR ANN ARBOR?
The block ‘M’ on Michigan’s campus has been painted green. pic.twitter.com/lGFvnXeVbv— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) October 22, 2014
Michigan State is a quality rival because they do what they're supposed to do: find you in distress, note your lowly state, and then deface something you love with spraypaint while fleeing the scene under cover of darkness. That's proper hate. Cultivate it well.
GURLEY BACK? UGA will apply for reinstatement today with the NCAA, which it will be granted because the entire case was bullshit anyway, and Todd Gurley should be allowed to play college football for Georgia when they play Florida. There's a vague admission of mistake-making in there by Gurley, which we assume applies to the issue of choosing to do business with an unreliable business partner. KNOW YOUR AUTOGRAPH DEALER, YOUNG MARKETABLES.
"I HAD THE WORLD BY THE BALLS." If you wanted to know where Chad Kelly, former Clemson QB, ended up, well the answer is "somewhere deep in the bowels of the Mississippi JUCO system." It sounds delightful:
One coach sat across from a mother who stared back at him with four eyes. "She had a pair of eyeballs tattooed right over her titties," he told me. "It gets surreal sometimes." Another recruit failed a drug test after smoking dope with his dad on the drive to school.
If the only place you've been to in Mississippi is Oxford, then oh, ohhhhh there are marvels you haven't even begun to experience beyond its preppy borders.
LEAVE POOR NEW MEXICO STATE ALONE. Already without a home conference and cast adrift on the college football seas, New Mexico State now has to deal with a copyright lawsuit from Oklahoma State over their mascot. Can't everyone agree that a mustachioed gunman with dead eyes and a lust for cold frontier murder is common enough to belong to everyone between Arkansas and California?
OH YOU'RE SO SENSITIVE, BIG 12. The Big 12 fined Baylor SID Heath Nielsen a grand for tweeting about the atrocious officiating in Baylor/WVU, a sum we hope some wealthy Baylor alum will pay out of protest.
CHARLIE WEIS! This SI article on the one day Bill Belichick was coach of the New York Jets contains some truly astonishing moments with Charlie Weis acting exactly like you expect he would.
ETC: That thing where rappers continue to release hot fire despite being in prison. Michigan appears to be unraveling not just in football, but generally speaking, as well.
WHY BONECRUSHER WOULD GET YOUR FOOTBALL PLAYERS SQUATTING HEAVY IN NO TIME AT ALL
This week's Fullcast covers the following critical topics:
Subscribe on iTunes under podcasts/sports, download directly here, or listen below in the Soundcloud embed.
Come on Randy, from time to time even a Terp has to drop it for the ladies. (via)
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. Florida State
Brilliantly scheduled a bye week prior to a deeply hazardous Thursday night road game against Louisville.
Of all the undefeated teams in recent memory, the Seminoles are among the wobbliest by trend, sleepwalking through an underwhelming ACC schedule, getting dominated on the stat sheet for much of a near-miss against Notre Dame, and having little in the way of a run game. But this is a sport played by 18- to 22-year-olds with limited practice schedules and very little experience, and the Seminoles are America's most dependable college football team.
Threats: That aforementioned road game at Louisville this Thursday, a home game against Virginia, and a road game against Miami. The Noles are basically in the Playoff already, barring a loss to Boston College. (They're losing to Boston College because this is 2014, and every seventh year in college football, the chaos locusts come out of the ground to breed.)
2. Mississippi State
Avoided a road upset at the hands of Kentucky, a team threatening to become rather good. A 45-31 victory highlighted by Josh Robinson's thunderous running will be presented to suit your desired Playoff argument below:
The nice part about being an undefeated SEC team going into the first week of November is that you can avoid paying Mack Brown for a football politics consulting fee. You can instead simply point to being "an undefeated SEC team going into the first week of November."
Threats: At Alabama and at Ole Miss for The Egg Bowl At The End Of The Universe.
A 59-41 win over Cal doesn't prove much you didn't already know about Oregon, but it did sort of drive home your convictions that a.) Cal is insane and is out to create the longest football game ever played every week, and b.) Oregon is pretty similar to Florida State in having a star QB, an underwhelming defense, and obvious weaknesses teams still can't manage to exploit. They're also different in having an actual schedule, something Florida State does not have, through little fault of its own. (It's not FSU's fault that the ACC is leprous or that Oklahoma State's and Florida's seasons have curdled.)
Threats: Stanford in Eugene is the obvious stumbling block from past seasons, but that road game on November 8 in Salt Lake City against Utah may be this year's intolerable brutality for the Ducks.
4. Notre Dame
No movement, as Notre Dame spent the bye week reviewing the rules concerning offensive pass interference.
Threats: Honestly, the rest of their schedule and the round of championship games are their biggest threat. Their best opponent left is Arizona State, and the lack of a championship game as an independent will bump their strength of schedule into subprime territory.
TEAMS THAT FELL FACE-FIRST INTO LES MILES' TIGER PIT FULL OF SPIKES
Ole Miss, which lost 10-7 to LSU on a night when Bad Bo Wallace showed up with a vengeance and did not cease until he had thrown the Rebels' last chance to tie the game into the hands of an LSU DB.
TEAM THAT SPENT THE BYE WEEK NODDING WHILE WEST VIRGINIA DRILLED ANOTHER TEAM
Baylor, whose one loss to the Mountaineers now makes things very complicated.
ONE-LOSS TEAMS THAT WERE ENTERTAINING AND/OR TERRIFYING
ONE-LOSS TEAMS WHOSE BAFFLING SINGLE LOSSES PRECLUDE EASY CONSIDERATION
THE COACHING SEARCH NEVER SLEEPS AND NEITHER DOES FLIGHTAWARE
GAINESVILLE, UPDATE: 9:28 a.m.
MICHIGAN, UPDATE: 1:49 p.m.
PITT: UPDATE, 12:39 p.m.
SMU, UPDATE: 4:18 p.m.
LSU, UPDATED: 3:28 a.m., Sunday October 25th
WEST VIRGINIA, UPDATED: 5:02 p.m.
Gary Patterson demands 83 points next time, Cal football is the most entertaining fire department ever, and you are the next to fail at trying to tackle Josh Robinson.
Josh Robinson did not run through the entire Kentucky defense in Mississippi State's win over the Wildcats. He did, however, run through half of it, and that's enough to make your jaw drop to the floor in silent tribute.
1. Josh Robinson barrels toward certain tackling at the hands of either safety Marcus McWilson or linebacker Khalid Henderson. Henderson, No. 22, is the first to miss, spun off by pure torque and flying off Robinson's ass like a child bounced off a trampoline. McWilson, No. 15, loses grip on Robinson before he ever thinks of having it.
2. Robinson meets No. 45 Josh Forrest head on, and ... we won't mince words, but this is very bad, Josh Forrest. Robinson spins like a judoka and plants Forrest in the ground with his left arm like a unslung duffel bag. Forrest weighs 236 pounds and is 6'3 and was unraveled by a much smaller (and thicker) man.
3. If there is any consolation, Henderson gets back up to get slung off Robinson a second time in yet another instance of the universe punishing and humiliating those who try. Khalid Henderson, I want to hug you.
4. No. 16 Cody Quinn gets a legitimate missed tackle here, but leviathan tackle No. 69 Matt Elam just sort of falls on his teammate. Elam's less trying to make a tackle and more a stunned sequoia falling to earth in Josh Robinson's honor.
5. After end-running the entire width of the field, Robinson is finally tackled by linebackers No. 2 Bud Dupree and McWilson, last seen being shrugged off on Robinson's first contact with the Kentucky defense.
6. In total: At least six missed tackles, one tree-felling and a 22-yard gain on first down.
I got to ask Gary Danielson how to stop the spread, at a game when some corrupt person let me into the CBS booth pregame to wander around and steal pens. His honest and sort of breathless answer was, "Oh! I don't know."
So, after watching Miss State against multiple teams this year, and watching those teams play sound enough defense against them, that answer holds up pretty well. There may not be an answer for Robinson and Dak Prescott beyond "tackling better." (It's not even like Prescott and Robinson are getting a whole lot of support from the offensive line, which has been average-to-good, and not consistent at all.)
The read on LSU and Les Miles has been wrong for years, so let's repeat it. If you give the Tigers a freshman quarterback, they'll be happy, because all Les Miles wants to do is line up a Leonard Fournette or a Kenny Hilliard or any of their blue-chip running backs and run at the defense until they reduce it to fine powdered brick. At one point, LSU mounted a nine-minute field goal drive in the first half, which was fine even without the TD, because the point of all that punishment was exactly that: punishment and keeping the Ole Miss offense off the field.
So it is fair to say that Bo Wallace had a bad game and a horrible endgame performance. It's also fair to say that LSU has fully rediscovered its run game (264 yards on the night) and slowed down the game to the slow boil Miles enjoys best. It's slow football, the homemade kind, and one made better when you can watch La'El Collins mash up his blocks effortlessly.
None of this has changed, ever, and if you forget that, remember that Jordan Jefferson started a national title game at QB once.
It's also fair to say that Hugh Freeze saw that last decision by Wallace to throw to the end zone and, for just one moment, beheld the cold skull-mask of death itself.
P.S. Ole Miss is still having a wonderful season, andtheir athletic director will totally fight you if you suggest otherwise.
Maybe this is how a football team ends. You give someone a stake as a symbol of holding things down. You give someone an axe to symbolize "chopping away at a problem," and they cut part of their foot off. You give someone a rope to hold, and they lose by 77 points to Oklahoma.
Maybe the timing is bad, and we never hear about all the cornball motivational tactics that do work, and only learn about the bad ones after they become part of a proven narrative of failure.*
*The exception: the Raiders' Tony Sparano literally burying a football. That's so dumb and literal he has to fail because science requires it. When Tony Sparano wants to move on, he entombs that problem. Tony Sparano's yard may look like a serial killer of appliances lived there: a fax machine buried under a bush, an old Westinghouse microwave tucked underneath some pavers.
Whatever the case may be, since Mike Hart called Michigan State "little brother" after the 2007 Michigan-Michigan State game, the Wolverines are 1-6 against the Spartans and getting gradually more futile by the year. So you can make fun of Michigan for resorting to motivationals, but that may be all they have at this point, particularly when you look at the complete collapse of the Michigan run game over that time span.
Bad motivational tactic Brady Hoke may use in a desperate attempt to save his job:
As cheesy as they might be, motivational grudges are not a crazy place to start. After all, they're where Mark Dantonio began the long path toward slowly flattening his in-state rivals in 2007.
MARK DANTONIO TOLD YOU HE WAS BRINGING HELL WITH HIM, MICHIGAN.
There are all the little elements, sure. Michigan State happens to have coached and developed better than Michigan over that span of time and done so with remarkable consistency. But there's also Michigan State's ability to stay pissed off forever, a real talent shared by only a few other teams in college football.
Some teams have coaches capable of spreading anger virally, a term administrators need to add to job descriptions: "Must be able to maintain a simmering level of furious anger and hell-vengeance at all times."
Last year TCU went 4-8 and lost a heinously officiated game, 20-10, to Texas Tech. (Yes, the one with the fox on the field.) The Horned Frogs' offense coughed to a full stop, the defense collapsed beneath the pressure, and they finished 1-5 in their last six games. (Yes, that one is Iowa State, and yes, it was another valiant loss for Paul Rhoads.)
This year, he Frogs are averaging almost as many yards as Baylor on offense, and did something even Baylor hasn't done this year in scoring 82 points against ... Texas Tech, the team the Frogs took a new co-offensive coordinator, Sonny Cumbie, from in the offseason. Trevone Boykin has thrown 21 TDs to 3 INTs and does not look like the same human, much less the same quarterback. Their defense is the standard top-30 unit, and that's with a 61 spot from Baylor warping the average. They're really, really good at football, and yes, one bad quarter away from being in the national title discussion.
This was Gary Patterson after an 82-27 win:
"I don’t think we played well all game,’’ Patterson said.
Even an offense that scored on 14 of its 16 possessions?
"We still had to kick four field goals,’’ Patterson said.
TCU could have scored 100 if it'd really wanted to, both because it is very good, and also because Patterson also has the unique ability to stay incandescently angry for decades at a time. Put him, Dantonio, and Nick Saban in a fusion reactor and make them watch a reel of missed tackles. Satisfy the power needs of humanity for at least the next millennium.
An amusement park in Lubbock, Texas, and one of the only sources of happiness in the city at the moment.
Eighty-nine percent of the money in Kliff Kingsbury's contract is guaranteed. 11-10 on the field and undefeated off it is still not a bad way to live, Kliff, and life is still a blowout in your favor.
Also, there's no way he's getting fired after a dismal year in Lubbock, because that would be very expensive, and Tech does not like to do things that are expensive. (See: their stinginess in Mike Leach's last contract negotiations.) Hey, remember when their defensive coordinator resigned earlier this season after allegedly being under the influence of "something"? It got all bad in Lubbock early, and now the dust storm's settled in with a fierceness.
Epworth sleepiness scale
A standard questionnaire to determine whether an individual is sleepy or not, though you can save some trouble and time by simply asking if they've been watching Pac-12 football this year, specifically Cal football.
Cal is like the fire department, if the fire department showed up with flamethrowers and napalm. Even in this year's fully realized cartoon football Pac-12, the Bears remain the most cartoonish of cartoon teams. Your game? It will take nothing short of four hours. Is the game over? No, the game is never over. Twenty-one points is striking distance with anything less than four minutes in the game. Can the Cal defense hold? Yes, for two downs, two illusory downs giving the impression of hope. Then, as they did against Oregon, the Bears will give up third-and-21, and the cycle starts again.
Did this all start at 10 p.m. ET or beyond? Of course it did. And with zero respect for human life, the need for sleep, or for defense. Someone from the SEC or Big Ten might hire Sonny Dykes just to end this. That someone should be Michigan, because you really, really want to see a disgusted Dantonio's reaction to defending an air raid team in freezing temperatures.
Do not lie: If we said one team was going to fumble five times in a row to start a game, Pitt would be in your top five based on pure Pittness alone. (A value also expressed in Wannstedt Units of football futility.) (Remember when Pitt ruined West Virginia's shot at a national title? That still happened despite everything we know and think about Pitt football.)
The short list of teams performing way over expectations:
The short list of teams coated in a fine glaze of disappointment:
The backwards-running river that the World's Largest Cocktail Party will be held on this weekend to zero fanfare. Florida football has died, and Todd Gurley will surely play and make any result besides a Georgia victory seriously improbable.
TCU-West Virginia will have to provide the entertainment, i.e., a game with each team in the mid-40s and a Morgantown crowd fuming with moonshine fury. The Pac-12 will definitely lose a one-loss team when Arizona State and Utah play; so will the SEC when Auburn and Ole Miss meet, and thus continue the unraveling of the SEC West's schedule. Louisville is Florida State's toughest remaining test on Thursday night, and if the Cardinals pull off the upset, the entire season flows fully backwards from this point on into the first Playoff.
BEING HAPPY IS A SIGN YOU ARE NOT A GOOD FOOTBALL COACH
ALL HAIL THE ACROSTICAL. The usual scattered nonsense, with a special emphasis on teams that stay pissed off forever thanks to their obsessive anger-junkie coaches. Looking at you, wooden-legged Gary Patterson. Gary Patterson does not have a wooden leg, but you can't prove for sure that he doesn't, or that he doesn't by temperament need one to fill out the personality profile. Ahab with a jacked-up F-150 and a mouth full of dip, that man.
SEEEEEEEEE THEY'RE CLUELESS ABOUT THIS TOO.
If you have an argument with the committee then put on your big boy pants and make the argument. Don't whine. http://t.co/QDgHVaxbVR— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) October 28, 2014
When the new CFP poll comes out, know that from the outset it was a bad idea, and that the results will be bad. This makes them like the rest of us, and hopefully when this is all over you'll have learned the only lesson there is to learn: the people in charge don't know what they're doing either.
THAT'S NOT A VERY GOOD THING. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson is out for a few weeks for Alabama, which in no way will make Lane Kiffin's job harder as offensive coordinator, and will be considered when/if Alabama has another offensive hiccup in the next few weeks in a critical SEC West game. P.S. this whole "Alabama fans caring about offense" trend is weird and un-American, please stop doing it.
THAT'S NOT GOOD EITHER. Penn State safety Ryan Keiser is undergoing surgery to treat the nasty aftereffects of a rib injury and subsequent sepsis-type infection that set in after he suffered a rib injury in practice last Thursday.
PUNCHO. Yes, literally wrap yourself in the failure phrase-to-treasure from the last gasps of the Will Muschamp era.
UMMM WHAT THE HELL UNC. That can't really be a thing anyone ever said about recruiting inner-city kids to play college football. It probably is, yes, but damn, UNC, that's just unaware as hell, since if middle-aged white guys in North Carolina can't cheer for inner-city black kids, then the answer is clear: you need a better class of middle-aged white guys in North Carolina.
CALL LES MILES CAMBRIDGE CAUSE HE OWNS OXFORD, TOO
If you think academics don't matter in college football, then what about the Virginia Tech offense's year long "Salute To Jamestown?"
Check the birth certificate and I bet you'll find out his name's actually Sct Leffler.
Just go tell Frank Beamer someone's raiding his still and change the locks while he's gone.
Virginia Tech lost so bad to hurricanes that Brad Pitt bought a house in Blacksburg.
Damn, East Carolina struggled with the UConn like they were in a Jack London novel.
Usually when 82 meets 27 in Texas the kids end up hiring a lawyer to contest the will.
Marcus Mariota's only been picked off once, but James Garfield didn't make it to the national championship either.
Cal's the mall cop of the Pac-12 - they've got uniforms but technically can't stop you.
Man, Nick Marshall's got that Auburn offense smokin', don't he?
I bet Auburn fans shop at Bass Pro Shops because they think Cabelas is a Mexican restaurant.
Bo Wallace's real name is "William Wallace," in case you wondered why it's appropriate he got his guts ripped out in front of an audience.
I guess he's a real physician if Dr. Bo had to leave the state of Mississippi to perform a real abortion.
Call Ole Miss David Vitter since he shit himself in Louisiana.
Gary Patterson needs to call a doctor because that definitely lasted longer than four hours.
At least your offense is the universal blood donor, Texas.
No, I think it's important to hire someone with Michigan ties for the job. Mike Debord. The Unabomber. You know, someone familiar.
Last time Bill Snyder held a team scoreless was when he founded the Shakers.
Dabo's havin' a little trouble with his offense, so it's good that he's already defensive enough for twenty-two men.
Then again, I believe there's always been no need to defend Clemson.
Best part of that UNC win over Virginia? Counts as a final paper on the Great Fire of London.
"Losing to Illinois" is the worst Hold Steady song ever, Minnesota.
Now Tim Beckman's gotten a treat off the counter. He's gonna think he's people now.
Burned by a stake is more of a Notre Dame thing, historically speaking, but trying new things can't hurt at this point, Michigan.
They're not zeroes on the scoreboard, Maryland, they're turtle eggs. Look: Randy Edsall just invented oviparous football.
New Year's must be confusing as hell at Pitt, what with the ball dropping five times.
Law says it's not arson if you built the structure that got incinerated, and that's why Lane Kiffin's a free man.
Not a good idea to hold out one finger to Tennessee fans, though. Rabies shots still hurt like the devil.
Shame they don't play in Athens for the Florida/Georgia rivalry. Someone can finally show Will Muschamp how to bury eight in an endzone. (UGA VIII for the two point conversion.)
I don't think Auburn cheated at the end of the game. That would mean their players recognize numbers.
Dang, Joey Bosa threw Penn State out of the way like his name was Bill O'Brien.
End of the game got pretty dicey there for Penn State, but those fans love having a coach they can insist didn't know what was happening.
Hey Florida State coaches: if you want your offensive line to block better, just name the man across from your guy "investigation."
Firing Will Muschamp is a shame, especially when he was our first Somali coach.
Showing up at the wrong time and delivering a lukewarm product on Saturday nights? Steve Sarkisian, Michigan athletic director, sounds better than I thought it would.
Call Les Miles Jane Austen because no one can read him, either.
Call Les Miles Sir Mix-A-Lot because he prefers being behind.
Call Les Miles Congress because he doesn't care about the deficit.
Call Les Miles Sebastian Vettel because he only needs to make two passes a week.
Call Les Miles Wright Thompson because he always wears a hat and makes Mississippians cry.
Call Les Miles Darth Vader because he'll choke a Rebel.
Call Les Miles fatal to your dog because he's pure anti-Freeze.
Call Les Miles the broken pinball machine because he always eats your last quarter.
Cal Les Miles Germany because he doesn't speak English, has two losses, and still has more money than you.
Call Les Miles happiness because he isn't coming back to Michigan, either.
1. Mississippi State (now alone in WAC)
2. Florida State
LET'S SNORT THIS LINE OF CENTRUM BRUH
ONLY THE FASTEST DISCUSSION OF THE PLAYOFF WILL DO. Which is why we're discussing it no less than sixteen hours afterwards, because speed kills and we like to stay alive around here. This week's Shutdown Fullcast focuses on:
As always, listen on iTunes under Podcasts/Sports, in the Soundcloud player below, or download directly here.
TRETOLA FOR HEISMAN
AS GOOD A SUGGESTION AS WE'VE SEEN
We are totally in favor of giving the Heisman to Sebastian Tretola at this point. If not him, give it to Jameis Winston twice in order to finally drain the last bit of meaning from an award without much actual meaning left, anyway. NDAMUKONG SUH WAS ROBBED.
WHOA HOLY THROWBACK. The towel's a nice touch, here, Texas A&M.
BUUUUUUUUUUUD. He's all too happy to help you lose money, especially in an advanced reverse curse pick for Florida to cover. (LOL if you're thinking Gurley's absence means anything with Nick Chubb and his giant squatting legs waiting in the backfield.)
MORE THAN RASHAD GREENE, BUT YEAH, RASHAD GREENE. Card Chronicle previews the FSU offense, which yes has more weapons than Rashad Greene, but seriously even at his current lauded level Rashad Greene doesn't get enough credit for his ridiculous level of production.
MO COLLINS WAS A BIG, NICE MAN. Florida lineman D.J. Humphries had kind words about Collins, who died this week at the age of 38 from kidney failure. We hope Collins taught him all the good stuff before he passed, i.e. all the gloriously dirty stuff he excelled at while in Gainesville.
ETC. Jose Canseco was a straight-A student in high school, and that's why grades are meaningless. Marcin Gortat is a damn warrior. Hey, Gangsta Boo has a new mixtape, you should play it for your kids and stuff.
1. You should not book a hotel room if you don't have to book a hotel room. The World's Largest Cocktail Party happens in Jacksonville, a city maligned by horrible Northeastern flyby journalists for years for being blank, devoid of character, and at best a hayseed parking lot dotted with vape stores, Waffle Houses, and disability check-related businesses. Those people can all go to hell, because that is the job of people more familiar with the area than they are. You fuckers should go back to bragging about how awesome it is to walk everywhere provided you don't have to carry things like groceries or be a woman on the street not openly carrying a handgun and a katana while wearing a chainmail burqa. ONLY IN NEW YORK.*
*No, you don't have to live in New York. No one ever has to live in New York.
2. But yeah, Jacksonville totally sucks. It's as bad as anywhere else in urban Florida in every sense of the word: strip malls, dull six-lane roads leading to nowhere in particular, and a sea of billboards poised over rotting stucco buildings. The weather around the time of the Cocktail Party is the exact temperature of food poisoning itself: Just warm enough to thaw frozen ground beef, and just cold enough to ensure it never gets cooked and grows a hefty layer of bacteria all over it. The river is very pretty. Go there, look at it, and drive out and do nothing else.
3. "But the beach, man." Here's the trick to living in Florida: no one goes there enough to justify living there unless they are a surfer, vagrant, or ocean swimmer. If you are the first then yeah, that's pretty great. If you are the second the beach is basically your home, and after three days or so becomes less and adventure and more an episode of "Avoid Death By Patrol Truck/Beach Tractor." If you are the third, you are weird and can't be stopped by any amount of advice. You might also be a fisherman, in which case you're not really going to the beach, but going as far away from humanity as possible in a boat. We can't argue with this being a bad idea.
4. The best restaurant is Publix.
5. The best bar is Publix.
6. All medical emergencies will be treated at the nearest Publix.
7. If your friends rented a house for the game, stay with them unless they're all single. We had to sleep in a closet one year when we made the mistake of staying in a house with multiple single people. The closet was fine until someone started having sex in the adjacent room at 3:30 a.m., at which point we had to drag a beach chair to the sand and sleep next to the water. It wasn't bad until the wind died down and the bugs started swarming. This is pretty much true of any experience in the state of Florida.
8. Going to the game is easy. You will pay too much to park in a church parking lot somewhere at least two miles from the stadium. There will be tickets available for Florida, certainly: no one expects to win this game, and most Florida fans usually only show up if they believe they are going to win. If you can, then, sit with Georgia fans for the sheer comedy of watching people become very agitated in what you know will be a Bulldog win. Hear "RUN THE BAWL, BOBO" in person; delight in the terror of Georgia fans who believe Florida may actually score multiple offensive touchdowns. Laugh at them when they are proven wrong, and cheer for Kyle Christy's thunderous punts like they are the only good thing this football team has.*
9. Many come only for the tailgating, but consider the other joys of the tailgating around the Cocktail Party, such as political ads on everything, thus mixing two of the worst things in the world: Florida politics and day-drunks. Yessir, your pitch for some Florida Blue Key personbot was made doubly convincing by your Confederate flag tailgate array. Everything, including politics, is served at the exact temperature of food poisoning at the Cocktail Party.
10. That's not to completely denigrate fine tailgating at the Cocktail Party. All of the following thing have happened to us in Jacksonville at tailgates:
That can all happen at the Cocktail Party, so yeah. Don't go. It's not worth it. To simulate the experience, eat some bad chicken, put a garbage bag as a vest, and drink a pot of hot, black coffee on an empty stomach while sitting on your couch watching the game. It's the same thing but cheaper with the same results.
11. If you're reading this three or four or ten years from now when Florida somehow stumbles into being a good football team again, please destroy this post and remember: this is what the losing or about-to-lose team says every time.
FSU'S GONNA KEEP DODGIN' THAT POLICE SNIPER LIKE A CHAMPION
The Factor Five Five Factor Preview is the *only* college football game preview that almost always picks the wrong team to win but doesn't care. You were just going to use that money for dumb things anyways.
NEBULOUS STATISTICAL COMPARISONS OF DUBIOUS VALIDITY
It'd be fun to say that Louisville's defense would be the ones to finally crack Florida State's offense in half, deliver the backbuster most of us want them to experience in front of a large audience, and then leave them prone in the ring while scaling a ladder to finish the match with a decisive boom. (Petrino makes the move with the neckbrace on, but only after slipping it on theatrically to wild applause.)
That would be fun, and it would be totally inaccurate. Florida State, thoroughly dominated on the stat sheet by Notre Dame, pulled out a last-minute victory thanks to Jameis Winston's insane accuracy and a properly called offensive pass interference call against Notre Dame. Clemson escaped after missing a 4th down conversion. Oklahoma State fumbled away their chance to beat Florida State after a random hit on quarterback J.W. Walsh spun him upside down, causing a fumble straight out of the NFL Blitz graphics playbook. FSU's apricot sat in the crosshairs three times this season; each time the sniper missed, and they lived to play another week undefeated.
And yes, Louisville has some gaudy defensive numbers, and here's where the ACC strikes again with its catstanky strength of schedule. Louisville's top-rated defense garnered those numbers against Syracuse, Clemson, Wake Forest, and Virginia, with the opener against Miami representing the toughest challenge overall. Even in that case, Louisville got the luxury of breaking in freshman Brad Kaaya in his first start in college.
FSU has obvious glaring weaknesses-- the nation's 104th ranked rushing offense, for instance-- but Louisville has zero experience facing a quarterback capable of challenging their defensive secondary. Nevermind the other huge thing here: peer-wise, this Louisville offense is basically Iowa/Maryland grade in terms of efficiency. Hey, there's a good quarterback on the other team. That's a stat by itself, right?
FLORIDA STATE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D!
One is Scott Stapp in facepaint. This is the other:
The thing where we remind you about John L. Smith, and the time his team beat Florida State at football:
The last time these two teams played, John L. Smith had not gone bankrupt, had not slapped himself in a press conference, had not become the first official eight-month-contract coach in college football, had not yelled SMILE in a press conference midway through that disastrous eight month tenure, and was just a gee-golly dude playing a Thursday night game in a driving rainstorm against the number four team in the country. Chris Rix played quarterback with Jeff Bowden calling plays! For real money! You can do anything in your life if you set your mind to it even if you shouldn't be within ten miles of the dream you're pursuing.
TL;DR: It's a road game and John L. Smith once did this, so anything's possible.
LOUISVILLE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D!
Junior St. Louis
Louisville just can't compete with the Noles in this Factor; FSU's fielding what reads like an East German supervillain group trying to kill Iron Man in 1984. And, really, how do we know this ISN'T an East German supervillain group trying to kill Iron Man? Can you PROVE they're not going to blow up the statue of Vulcan in Birmingham? You think Jimbo knows what public art these kids are and aren't trying to destroy? No chance, man. No chance.
FLORIDA STATE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D
GRUDGES/SCORES TO SETTLE/SHEER CUSSEDNESS
That 2002 thing isn't relevant for anyone here, Florida State and Louisville don't have a historical rivalry to really speak of, neither coach seems to have that much enmity for the other, and southern Ohio/northern Kentucky and panhandle Florida have no real beefs on the record that don't involve oxy and guns. There appear to be no serious motivations here besides a basic underdog card, a national title campaign on the line, and the usual battle of "Which coach can be the bigger dickhead in the name of pure dickheadedness?"
Despite a recent streak of impressive performance in this category, one of these gentlemen is not named Bobby Petrino.
LOUISVILLE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D
That's a 3-2 edge for Louisville, and reason enough why you should accuse us of anti-Florida State bias and hating. We are definitely just jealous of FSU's awesome tradition of championshipping and never failing nope not ever.
A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY FOR A SPECIAL GHOUL
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICK SABAN
He turns 63 today.
TALKIN' BOUT THE NOLES. In yet another triumphant performance against all odds against a vastly superior opponent, the Florida State Seminoles prevailed again as they overcame a 21-0 first half deficit to defeat the mighty Louisville Cardinals. Beloved coach Jimbo Fisher's halftime adjustments were key to the win, with the Seminoles racking up hard-hitting yards on the ground and ultimately going on a 42-10 run to finish the game. America's team now gets extra rest before facing noted ACC power UVA next Saturday. Yay.
IF THIS ALL SEEMS BAD. Just imagine if this had occurred in the internet age.
IF THIS SEEMS BAD, TOO: IT IS BECAUSE KYLE ALLEN IS STARTING FOR THE AGGIES AND TEXAS A&M IS BASICALLY HITTING THE RESET BUTTON THIS LATE IN THE SEASON.
AT LEAST THEY'RE NOT FLORIDA. At least they're not, you know...us.
PSSST THIS HAPPENED, TOO. In the middle of the game last night the NCAA raised one cheek, waited until someone in Papa John's Stadium coughed, and farted out the announcement that Todd Gurley's suspension had been upheld. How everyone in that building does not die from shame is one of science's
FOOTBALL SCHEDULE: That TCU/WVU game could be pure flame, but Ole Miss/Auburn has sneaky combustion potential, as well. Did you know there are "Football" games tonight? (Quotes mandated by legal, substance known as "football" in no way legally resembles the sport.)
THEY SHOULD SWITCH PLACES FOR A GAME. Bruce Pearl's Halloween costume is Gus Malzahn, and don't think Bruce Pearl won't try to pick up a lady in it without telling her it's a disguise.
Also? 1. Reese’s Mini Cups 2. Reese’s Pieces 3. Reese’s Cups— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) October 31, 2014
First, putting Reese's Mini Cups on top is buying alcohol in tiny bottles when what you want is a handle of gin. You are not making an elevated, principled argument about proper chocolate-to-peanut-butter ratios. You are not performing delicate chemistry, or sounding like a gourmand getting fubsy with your peanut butter and chocolate candy requirements. Reese's Mini Cups are packaged in three things: paper, foil, and denial. "I just eat one," says a liar who ate twenty-two of them in a sitting when two or three regular Reese's Cups would have done.
Mini Cups are LIES. Reese's Cups are the fatty, insulin-spiking power of whole, unminiaturized truth.
Second: Reese's pieces aren't even in the Reese's family, since they involve at best only trace amounts of chocolate. If you like instrumental tracks without the vocals and bread sandwiches, Reese's Pieces are for you. Otherwise if you want the whole promised concept, opt for Minis or the actual Cups. WHICH ARE DELICIOUS, RYAN. Additionally, you're stating something is better without chocolate, which is impossible under several variations on natural law.
P.S. Don't even come in here with White Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. They are not canon, and might as well be candle wax wrapped around peanut butter.
CUDDLE UP AND WATCH A CHILLER WITH YOUR LOVED ONES THIS WEEKEND
5. THE SHINING. Kubrick's clinical precision gives an already frightening Stephen King story an ice-cold edge that cuts the viewer to the bone.
4. THE VANISHING. Maybe the most chilling ending of any film because the abducted turns out to be...you, the viewer.
3. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. The question "What can stop a madman?" gets a terrifying answer: nothing, if he is determined to kill you.
2. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Simple, yet terrifying in its perfection, particularly when the hunted turn on each other.
1. HALLOWEEN. Most horror movie protagonists don't come with a backstory. They're too complex, and needlessly complicate the simple formula of terror. That is, unless that protagonist is Michael Myers, and the story is Halloween.
BONUS: THE EXORCIST. It comes on at 3:30 p.m. on CBS this Saturday.
An instantaneous survey of the teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff at this moment, led by the most revered and respected institution in all of amateur sports.
1. Florida State
America's team rode an unbroken wave of nationwide adulation and unblemished excellence to a 42-31 road win over a strong Louisville team that would probably win the SEC East. Eddie Goldman dominated along the defensive line, Dalvin Cook may have just become the next great Seminole running back, and Jameis Winston -- despite some early hijinks! -- once again played a flawless game down the stretch. All done with such integrity and consistency, and against the finest teams the nation has to offer!
What weight can crush the Seminoles' dreams when they already support heaven and earth on their mighty shoulders? A championship would be but another pebble on the mighty burden they already heave skyward with such ease! And without the intervention of outrageous luck, like freaky fumble recoveries for touchdowns!
Threats: Virginia (an AMAZING team that beat Louisville!), Miami (another ASTONISHING TEAM fresh off a convincing victory over a conference rival! Never mind which one!), and Florida (red-hot SEC powerhouse that just defeated Georgia! Again, let's not act too particular about circumstances!).
More than 250 yards through the air and on the ground, Nick Marshall moving in eerie sync with his coach's hyperspeed brainwaves, and Cameron Artis-Payne suddenly learning to break tackles means Auburn is burning along at its new standard November cruising speed of around 35 points a game. They even threw in four sacks on Bo Wallace to nod politely in the direction of defense, and sealed the 35-31 win over Ole Miss by forcing Laquon Treadwell to fumble just shy of the goal line on a potential game-winning TD for the Rebels.
This is a video of that play:
Don't go find it. Just take our word for it, and just remember that Auburn is slowly looking more and more like the team that made the title game last year, and less and less like the team that struggled against Mississippi State early in the Tigers' only 2014 loss.
Threats: Only Alabama in the Iron Bowl, really. Georgia lost to Florida, and any team that loses to 2014 Florida has massive problems.
3. Mississippi State
Won 17-10 over ... well, help us fill this role. Need a character actor. Big shoulders. Large features, capable of putting real color into a role. Endearing, lummoxy, and with an inability to do anything but sort of barrel through life cheerfully stringing loss after loss together with no lack of enthusiasm.
You say Arkansas? Sure, that's just the team to play this part. Gotta really get into the part where it gets three turnovers and has the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win, but still throws an interception and gives a sleepy Mississippi State team a mostly forgettable win highlighted only by Dak Prescott's 331 yards passing.
Threats: Alabama in two weeks. The Egg Bowl, looming at the end of the season.
Stanford's clearly a notch or two below the standard of recent Stanford teams. Still, the board says 45-16, Mariota was mostly flawless, and most importantly, the Ducks' offensive line is getting healthy at just the right time, i.e. just in time for a home stretch through the schedule and into a possible Playoff spot.
Did you see Mariota criticized by an anonymous scout this week as being "too nice?" Mariota set Stanford on fire and did it with a smile on his face. SUCH A NICE BOY.
Threats: A wounded and pissed-off Utah team in Salt Lake City next week, and whatever Oregon State team decides to show up for the Civil War.
JUST MISSING THE FINAL FOUR DUE TO THE BYE WEEK
Alabama. You never defeat the bye week, but the Tide have nothing to worry about here, as they play both Mississippi State and Auburn and have the best chance of any team in the nation of elbowing their way into the Playoff convincingly.
Michigan State also struggled with the bye week, and at 7-1 is a clean slate and a Big Ten Championship Game win away from serious Playoff candidacy.
SITTING WITH ONE LOSS IN THE BIG 12'S BUCKET OF CRABS
TCU, the Big 12's strongest representative over the past two weeks, is in the foyer after a 31-30 win over West Virginia in Morgantown.
Baylor, which beat TCU but then lost to WVU, stands just ever so slightly behind the Frogs due to a slightly softer schedule. (Remember: TCU's big out-of-conference win was Minnesota.)
Oh, and Kansas State plays all three of the aforementioned teams over the next month and only has a loss to current top-four member Auburn. "Like the SEC West's round-robin game of murderball, this will work itself out pretty nicely by December 1," he said, forgetting what a mess this will probably become.
ONE-LOSS TEAMS WITH ONE REALLY BAD, POSSIBLY DISQUALIFYING LOSS IN THEIR PASTS
Ohio State, which kept Illinois' win streak at one with a 55-14 blowout, but which also still lost to a bad Virginia Tech team earlier this season.
Arizona State, winners of a gritty, 19-16 OT win this week over gritty, winner-y Utah, and proud owners of a home blowout loss to UCLA.
Duke, winners against Pitt in a 51-48 OT victory who lost 22-10 to three-loss Miami earlier this year.
I mean ... sure, they get a chance to make the Big Ten Championship Game, win, and continue all that good stuff they did in a 35-14 win over Purdue. It could happen. Stop laughing and petting your imaginary cat, Faux Pelini.
Beat Navy 49-39, but is ranked so poorly at No. 10 that even with a late, noble loss to FSU, it doesn't have the schedule remaining to really pull any serious consideration at this point.
ONE-LOSS TEAMS THAT HELPFULLY BECAME TWO-LOSS TEAMS THIS WEEKEND TO SIMPLIFY THIS PROCESS
Arizona, East Carolina, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Utah.
SOMETIMES YOU NEED A HORSE AND A PHILOSOPHER.
After a lengthy absence, Voltaire and FIREHORSE calmly debate the proper way to react to Florida's shocking defeat of Georgia.
VOLTAIRE: If an ass shall find an apple, we shall call him an ass. If that same ass shall find a brigand's gold in the field whilst looking for an apple, shall we call him Sheriff? If the gambler calls three and rolls that same number on the throw of those ivory harlots that take so many a man away from happy life and wealth, shall we call him a mathematician, or worse an oracle? If we should, in a traveler's distress, take culinary shelter in the replicant restaurant named after the subterranean piss-conduit of the most unfortunate metropole of the colonies...do we then call that Subway a place one could dine reliably?
If one coach, in the act of arraying his pieces in the usual dismal fashion, should bumble into combat against an even less competent man on his worst day, playing his game of chess less one queen, shall we then crown him our new wizard, and send him on to compete in a tournament of the mind against the dons of Oxford? Do we call a lightning strike the act of the universal blacksmith, or simply acknowledge the might and caprice of the atmospheres for what it is?
FIREHORSE: WHAT THE SHIT WAS THAT? I AM TALKING TO YOU, WORTHLESS SHITHEAP GEORGIA. NOT YOU, FLORIDA. WE'LL TALK TO YOU IN A MINUTE THIS IS ABOUT THE BULLDOGS.
ALL WE NEEDED WAS FOR YOU TO MAKE LIFE EASY AND CLEAR. YOU KNOW HOW THAT IS. YOU WANT THINGS TO BE EASY EVERY NOW AND THEN AND FOR THERE TO BE SIMPLE DIVIDES AND SHIT. LIKE OH, MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL BECAUSE EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO WENT TO LAW SCHOOL IS MISERABLE EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE GUY WHO'D BE HAPPY IN ALCATRAZ SIPPING TOILET WINE FROM A ZIPLOC BAGGIE AND READING THE SAME POPULAR MECHANICS FROM THE JAILHOUSE LIBRARY. I HATE YOU FOR THAT MIKE. STOP MAKING THINGS COMPLICATED, HAPPY-ASS MIKE WHO'S A LAWYER AND NOT MISERABLE.
WE NEEDED YOUR SORRY ASS TO MAKE IT SIMPLE GEORGIA. WHEN NICK CHUBB GOT A HUNDRED YARDS RUSHING IN LIKE THE FIRST QUARTER AND SLASHED THROUGH THE GATOR DEFENSE LIKE A KNIFE THROUGH BUTTER. SECOND DRIVE: SIX RUNS, THREE PASSES, AND ONE 39 YARD GEORGIA TD RUN. FLORIDA WAS THE COW IN THE CHUTE AND YOU WERE THE DUDE WITH THE BOLT GUN. ONE JOB AND ONE WILLING COW DREAMING OF HAPPY FIELDS. IT WAS THAT SIMPLE
Voltaire: And yet, if circumstance should grant the condemned the keys to his cell, shall he still not be the same fool who found his way into the gaol? If he should slip into freedom, would the warrant not be on his head even in that illusory freedom? Shall the fugitive, even in saving the child from the river or alerting the village to a burning barn, still not be the fugitive? If the act cancels writ of law and evidence, then why have them at all, and let the burglar free for his good manners at the witness stand?
Does Missouri not exist? This is a serious question asked by the geographers.
THAT WAS ALL WE NEEDED GEORGIA. JUST RUN NICK CHUBB INTO THE GROUND AND DARE US TO STOP IT AND MAKE FIRING WILL MUSCHAMP AN EASY, SIMPLE DECISION LIKE NOT GOING TO LAW SCHOOL AND NOT HAVING KIDS AND NOT BUYING THAT CAR YOU CAN'T AFFORD BUT WANT BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHILD WALKING AROUND IN A MAN'S BODY WITH THAT SAME CHILD'S MATH SKILLS.
AND YOU DIDN'T DO THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE THE WORST, GEORGIA, THE ABSOLUTE WORST AT EVERYTHING. YOU KICKED A FIELD GOAL ON FOURTH AND SHORT WHEN YOU COULD HAVE STEPPED ON OUR NECKS AND ENDED IT. YOU MISSED THAT FIELD GOAL BECAUSE YOU DESERVED TO BECAUSE NO ONE WHO RELIES ON FIELD GOALS EVER DOES MORE THAN MAKE A CAMEO AT THE CLUB SUPER SEX OF FOOTBALL. YOU CAME HALF-HARD TO THE ORGY, GEORGIA. ENJOY THE BUFFET, IT'S GREAT.
THEN THIS HAPPENED.
TO QUOTE EL-P: YOU CAN WALK BACKWARDS THROUGH A FIELD OF DICKS, GEORGIA. THAT'S A KID WHO BAGS GROCERIES AT PUBLIX RUNNING FOR A FIELD GOAL THROUGH TWO OF THE MOST WEAKLY CONTESTED BLOCKS IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL. CLAY BURTON IS TAKING HIS MAN FOR A WALK LIKE IT'S A TANGO AND I'LL BE HONEST IT'S AS EROTIC AS I HOPED THE ARGENTINES SAID IT WAS ESPECIALLY COMING OFF THAT CROSS-FORMATION CRACKBACK BLOCK ON THE FAKE. CLAY BURTON IS TAKING HIM TO BUENOS AIRES AND THEY WILL ENJOY THE FINE WINES OF THE MENDOZA REGION TOGETHER.
AFTER THAT IT WAS JUST FLORIDA BOUNCING EVERY RUN TO THE OUTSIDE FOR HUGE GAINS AND OUR DEFENSE DOING THAT THING WHERE THEY'RE GOOD AND HATE EVERYONE. FLORIDA THREW SIX PASSES. CONGRATULATIONS YOU LOST TO GEORGIA SOUTHERN. YOU'RE NOW FLORIDA. THAT'S THE WORST DAMN THING I CAN SAY ABOUT YOU. YOU LOST TO KNOCKOFF GEORGIA SOUTHERN, GEORGIA. MAYBE YOUR COUSIN WHO DEALT WEED THROUGH COLLEGE AND DROPPED OUT OF STATESBORO TO TEND BAR IN SAVANNAH HAD THE RIGHT IDEA ALL ALONG. YOU BETTER START THINKING THAT. THAT'S YOU NOW.
But perchance: what if the flight of judgment is indeed too hasty? What shall we consider the tally of our days if we, upon seeing one sunny day, threw galoshes and umbrellas into the fireplace? Should we, in considering the dank present, be unprepared for the labors required to arrive in the future? What should be the exchange rate for happiness: a year of transition into the next state, or the familiar mediocrity which without change shall yield much of the same, barely tolerable results? Condemn the hasty wedding in a moment of reconciliation between two lovers, but all is forgivable when one admits the impossibility of sustained happiness.
To keep the husband and blacksmith Muschamp and take a middling villager's life with the occasional moment of carnival would be deranged; to expect a prince around the corner would be equally deranged, and to see a crown on the head of the nearest gentleman caller who catches the eye. The wayward heart! How it derails the constant brain, which says to follow the trend, and not the outlying bandit of chance who distracts, and steals away reason by the moment!
THAT PART WHERE THE GEORGIA DEFENSE MADE OUR OFFENSIVE LINE LOOK LIKE ALABAMA'S 2012 UNIT WAS PRETTY GREAT TOO. LIKE A GOOD PAIR OF BOXER BRIEFS IT MADE OUR PACKAGES LOOK HUGE AND BIGGER AND BETTER THAN THEY ARE AND FOR THAT WE THANK YOU, GEORGIA. GETTING SMALLER IN THE SEC IS ALWAYS A GREAT IDEA ESPECIALLY WHEN THE ONE RESOURCE EVERY SCHOOL HAS IS CHEAP ABUNDANT CALORIES AND BIG FAT GUYS WHO WANT TO PLAY FOOTBALL AND FALL ON PEOPLE ALL DAY.
ALSO YOUR WIDE RECEIVERS WERE WEARING CURLING SHOES.
THE FUCKED UP PART IS HOW CONFLICTED EVERYTHING IS NOW BECAUSE:
YES: IT'S AWESOME TO BEAT GEORGIA AFTER HAVING THE SHITTIEST AND LONGEST RUN OF FOOTBALL EVER ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU GET TO DO IT OVER YOUR SECOND TRASHHEAPINGEST RIVALS WHO COME FROM A STATE EVEN MORE DEPLORABLE AND DEPRAVED AND JOBLESS THAN YOUR OWN. TYLER PERRY IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR ECONOMY GEORGIA AND THAT'S NOT EVEN A LIE. IT'S THE TRUTH AND THAT'S THE WORST THING WE CAN SAY IN ANY SITUATION. MARK RICHT IS A FINE MAN AND BETTER THAN WE'LL EVER BE. ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR HE SAYS JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL WITH GAME PLANS AND AS IT TURNS OUT JESUS WAS A CARPENTER WHO COULDN'T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH OR DRIVE AND THAT'S HOW YOU END UP WITH A RED AND BLACK FORD F-150 WITH CLARKE COUNTY PLATES FLIPPED IN A DITCH AND A DUDE IN A WHITE ROBE SPEAKING IN ARAMAIC BEING CUFFED INTO THE BACK OF AN ATHENS PD CRUISER BECAUSE "WELL, HE LOOKED ETHNIC, AND WAS WITH GEORGIA FOOTBALL PERSONNEL, SO SOMETHING HAD TO BE GOING ON."
BUT NOW YOU'LL HAVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KEEP MUSCHAMP AND THAT'S THE WORST NOT BECAUSE IT'S A HORRIBLE IDEA BUT BECAUSE NOW HE'S LIKABLE AGAIN. HE WAS CRYING AND HE SAID HE WAS THINKING ABOUT HIS DAD AND EVEN IF YOU HATE HIS BRAND OF FOOTBALL--
WHICH WE DOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
--EVEN IF YOU STILL HAVE TO ADMIT THE MAN CARES AND THAT'S HORRIBLE BECAUSE HE'LL CARE THE DAY WE STILL FIRE HIM. IF WE FIRE HIM NOW. OUR FATE IS IN THE HANDS OF VANDERBILT SOUTH CAROLINA AND FLORIDA STATE. HELLO STRANDED CLIMBER: THIS IS PARK RANGERSHUNGRY BEAR. MYSELF AND PARK RANGERS FAULTY RUSSIAN HELICOPTER WITH A FAINT SCENT OF BURNING WIRES AND PARK RANGER TIPSY CLIMBER WITH HEPATITIS ARE EN ROUTE TO RESCUE YOU AND MAKE THIS AN EASY DECISION FOR YOU. WE'LL BE THERE IN...WELL, RESPONSE TIME'S ABOUT A MONTH. HOPE YOU CAN STRETCH TWO TWIZZLERS A POWERBAR AND DRINK YOUR OWN PISS AND WHATEVER RAINWATER YOU CATCH WITH YOUR MOUTH TO STAVE OFF DEHYDRATION.
AND IF WE DON'T FIRE HIM...
The greatest gambit in life is enjoying the present, as it is contradicted by the past, and ruined immediately by the objecting future.