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    Arbor Day

    For which we respect trees, and because of that I stole your oak dining table. Trees.

    Labor Day

    The Hercules performed many feats upon the lions and the birds and the hydra. I have myself had lunch with the hydra and my wife found him punctuated.


    Ceremonial transfer of the sugars to the youth. Every child disguise themselves with robustness.

    Presidents' Day

    Memorialization of our greatest presidents, Abe Lincoln and Bon Scott. Salute them with your hand.

    Ash Wednesday

    Important to teach these youths about the sacrifices. Great sacrifices. Because you gotta catch them all.

    Good Friday

    A related holiday to Ash Wednesday during the Holy Week. The other days are also important: Thirsty Thursday, Taco Tuesday, and Cyber Monday.


    Believed it to be a good throw. Practice field will be the place for the working out of that pattern. Toughness.

    Mothers' Day

    The conception is a step, and the implantation. What we have to focus on is dilation. Dilation and performance.

    Cinco de Mayo

    (breakdances while Ravel's Bolero plays)

    Valentine's Day

    Getting a card is important. The candy is important.

    [stares at wall for eight seconds]

    [shakes head]

    ...candy is so freakin' important, men.

    Guy Fawkes Day

    We're sitting him for the first half of the New Mexico State game. We feel that's a lesson and he's absorbed it. We feel that.

    Veterans Day

    Thank a Space Marine by punching Paul Reiser.

    Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Happy birthday Marvin

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  • 11/04/14--07:39: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 11/4/2014

    ALL GOLD EVERYTHANG, AGAIN. Miss State's gold-accented Egg Bowl unis are one of our favorite variations, mostly because putting gold trim on stuff is so sincerely countryfied it hurts.

    And yes, it's a nod to the rivalry trophy, but we hope it's also a subtle nod to every State fan who ever unwisely spent money on flashy chrome and gold trim for their truck, too.

    GO WATCH MAX GARCIA WEEP. Really, go do it right now.

    95.2%. The probability of Georgia beating Florida this past Saturday in a game that, to everyone's shock, Florida ended up winning by a beer-fat margin. The point: even The Numerical is baffled by you, Will Muschamp.

    QUALITY BIG TEN GRAPHICS RIGHT THERE. The BTN should really look into them, and we're not lying.

    A SCHIANO MAN NEVER FORGETS THE TACO SEASONING. The idea of Greg Schiano trying to "enjoy himself" at his next coaching stop is delightful, especially when his staff finds him in his office peering over a huge O.E.D. looking up the definition of the word "enjoy."

    ETC: Alaska, can you tolerate political leaders who can't tear ass on a snow machine? Yellow cards all around, dammit. You see, Sophia Loren's concerns were mostly architectural and structural ones.  Luke O'Neil's Manaus piece is awesome.

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    "I was telling our coaching staff, I think Taylor Swift’s got a song called ‘Shake it Off.’ Ugh."

    Steve Spurrier citing Taylor Swift, and yanno, also saying he'll come back for next year as the head coach of the Gamecocks.

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  • 11/04/14--10:48: WHAT ARE YOU DOING
  • Screen_shot_2014-11-04_at_1.45.09_pm.0


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    Now you have trod across the bridge which spans the river we have labeled "TooFar" on this official map of the internet, #FSUTwitter. (by @celebrityhottub)

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  • 11/05/14--08:05: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 11/5/2014

    THE PRETTIEST AND THE BADDEST. These titles both belong to the same person in this picture and it's Barry Switzer.

    "For the talent portion of the competition, I will drink whisky from a boot while forcing Darrell Royal into retirement."

    MIKE LEACH, UNLIKE BO WALLACE, IS NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. So according to Mike Leach, the calf is part of the ankle, which Connor Halliday broke in a career-ending injury against USC, and contains the tibia and the fibula. Fibia. One of those two. Medical science is a lie, only go to SEC West quarterbacks for all your medical needs.

    READ DAILY, THEN READ AGAIN. The Smart Football Glossary should be preserved on platinum and diamond serversin a bombproof vault thousands of feet below the Sonoran Desert.

    JEFF DRISKEL BACK? As a possible bit player in the Wildcat, which even in that small dose makes use insanely nervous.

    YUP WOODY WAS FUCKING INSANE. It was linked in H.A.S. yesterday, but yes: Woody Hayes thought everyone at My Lai deserved it, and he was the fucking craziest football coach to ever not be convicted of murder. He was also the Zodiac Killer and no, you can't disprove this even if you wanted to.

    BLOOD AND DARKNESS AND YUP IT'S BAMA/LSU TIME. So it did get a bit dark this week in Louisiana, but it's that time of year.

    ETC: Pretty sure Migos are better than the Beatles and that this title is completely accurate. BRIAN PHILLIPS ON SUMO GO READ THAT NOW QUIT YOUR JOB AND READ IT NOW.

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    This week's edition is late and for that you get the refund of NOTHING. Topics include:

    • a baffling discussion of Billy Joel and whether he has ever seen a football game
    • the agony and ecstasy of being a Florida fan processing a shocking win over Georgia
    • an important discussion of Ca$h Money vs. No Limit Records
    • a look at the very busy week eleven slate, and yet more #talkinboutthenoles.

    Download directly here, listen on iTunes under Podcasts/Sports, or simply press play on the Soundcloud widget.

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  • 11/06/14--09:43: BEST STAR WARS MOVIE, IMHO
  • Starnoles.0

    Finally glad to see Star Wars make a high character movie that's made the right way on class and on indignity, on the in the classroom and off the field.

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    The FACTOR FIVE preview this week looks at Clemson/Wake Forest this week, and wait what are you doing--

    NEBULOUS STATISTICAL COMPARISONS OF DUBIOUS VALIDITY. Wake Forest, after a rough start to the season, now boasts a 1.1 yard per carry average. Clemson only scored 50 on North Carolina. Do you have family? Does the fall not remind you that life is short, winter is coming, and of the fragility of life itself? If not, have you played Kentucky Route Zero? You could play that, or read about Brian Phillips finding the man who cut off Yukio Mishima's head while trying to figure out sumo wrestling. You could go to bed early. Sleep is important for longevity and overall well-being as a person.








    Life of Pi remake? Life of Pi remake.

    ADVANTAGE: Actually, just watch Hunt for Red October.Life of Pi doesn’t have James Earl Jones.


    Wake Forest

    Orville Reynolds

    Jared Crump

    Griffin Stamey

    Dylan Intemann

    Zack Wary


    Ebenezer Ogundeko

    Vic Beasley

    Brant Bullister

    Maverick Morris

    Stanton Seckinger

    I don’t know why we tend to pick five names for this Factor every week. Maybe it’s because, subconsciously, we’d like to see these teams play Family Feud instead. Sure, Dabo wouldn’t be representing Clemson in this hypothetical edition of the game show, but there’s no way his answers would be helpful. "Name something you pack in your shaving kit." "MOLASSES!"

    ADVANTAGE: Show me Molasses!




    You could reach out to old friends. Give them a call. Been to the gym lately? Even if you're tired, you will be astonished at how much better you feel afterwards, both mentally and physically. Just try something light if you're worried about feeling too out of shape: a yoga class, or maybe just a half-hour on the treadmill at a gentle place. The important thing is to get get moving a little bit every day.

    If you are on the treadmill, do not watch Clemson/Wake Forest as it may cause dangerous drops in blood pressure.


    This is not a rivalry, and has never been one. Clemson holds a 61-17-1 record against Wake Forest, with the last Demon Deacons victory coming in a 12-7 sedation of the Tigers, Wake, and anyone watching the game. Deshaun Watson, Clemson's brilliant freshman, will likely not start tonight due to a hand injury. Here is an internet video you can watch instead of this game.

    Also have you changed your air filters in your HVAC system? Probably not. You're probably just living and sleeping for hours, days, and weeks at a time in the equivalent of a giant tubercular smoker's lung. You can also flip your mattress, another thing you are lying to everyone about doing.




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  • 11/07/14--07:18: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 11/7/2014



    It's Archie Manning in the back that gets the multiple viewings going.

    CLEMSON ENDS GAME IN PREDICTABLE CLEMSON FASHION. That is, by looking like total horseshit for much of the game, and then still winning because the other team in the game was Wake Forest.

    NARDUZZI BECOMES MOST WELL-ENDOWED COORDINATOR IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL. $3 million dollar donation from a wealthy Michigan State alum ensures, among other things, that defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi can stay comfortably as long as he likes in East Lansing. Yes, being a head coach presents a new challenge most coaches can't help but chase; and on the other hand, this.

    DID YOU READ RYAN ON THE BLACK HILLS BRAWL? Well, that's something you should do today.

    PREPARING FOR THE INEVITABLE LOSS TO UVA. Bud's already handling it well in advance.

    KANYE'S PLAYCALLING MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. But he does mimic the coaching fashions of Dana Holgorsen, so he's not doing everything wrong here. Big Sean looks like a surefire early bloomer doomed to fail at quarterback, so welcome to the 2015 Florida roster, son.

    ETC: Bring every one of these back, most mostly "outspeckle." Why, you don't say?

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    The end will arrive when it will arrive, whether we want it to hurry up or not. So let's have fun along the way.

    Before you watch a single game of college football this Saturday, consider the Kansas State Wildcats. Really consider them.

    Tyler Lockett, their primary offensive threat, was a three-star prospect. Curry Sexton, the next leading receiver, turned down Harvard to play football in Manhattan, Kansas. (His K-State bio still proudly lists him as "Rated the 14th-best prospect in the state of Kansas by in 2009".) Leading tackler Jonathan Truman is a former walk-on whose high school focus was wrestling and who could barely hang clean 200 pounds as a freshman. Their sole instantly recognizable name is Glenn Gronkowski, brother of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, and even he was a two-star wide receiver coming into the program.*

    *He is now playing fullback, because Bill Snyder can make a banana out of a pear and a pear out of a banana, if needed. And he needed a fullback and made one out of a wide receiver.

    Their quarterback is an Iowa community college's finest, and their coach is a 75-year-old man obsessed with Pinocchio.

    The Wildcats should not work, and yet do. Same for the Auburn Tigers, the only team to defeat Kansas State this year. Their coach is a former high school coach who literally learned his offense from a book. (This one, to be specific.) Their quarterback is a converted DB, and their defensive coordinator coached one of the worst teams in modern college football history. Their last four conference games have been "NFL Blitz" adapted for the college game, breakneck sprints to 30 points and desperate lunges for the finish. If Gus Malzahn were not a rigidly programmed football-bot, you would suspect him of having "The Bomb" somewhere in his playbook under that exact name.

    Lane Kiffin is still the offensive coordinator at Alabama, and things are still going smoothly so far. Ohio State has rolled to 7-1 with its backup quarterback starting, LSU is back to 7-2 without really even using a forward pass, and Utah still has a chance to contend for a national title. That's a real thing on November 7th, 2014, and despite what anatomists and physiologists tell you about the limits of the human body, so is Marcus Mariota.

    Those are just a few of the really good teams in college football right now. Stranger things lie further down the tables. Memphis has a winning record and is a contender in the American. Indiana has the nation's leading rusher, Tevin Coleman. Duke's 7-1 and, in some variant of a future universe much like ours, could be the ACC champion. Thursday night, Wake Forest competed with Clemson for three quarters or so. I'm not telling you this is merely remarkable for being possible, but that it's remarkable that it was even attempted in the first place.

    Just watch Arkansas every week. The Razorbacks are not going to win a game, and yet act like no one told them that the punch their co-star will throw is going to be real.*

    *Does this make Arkansas 2014 sound like a sinister David Fincher movie? Good, that's entirely appropriate.

    So just a word of advice from someone who nearly wasted an opportunity to live in the moment during a mayfly-short season. Georgia should have flattened Florida. For larger plot purposes, a Florida loss would have been tidy, making the firing of Will Muschamp and the total collapse of the program under his watch a more defined fact. It would have been so much easier in other ways, too, because hope is sometimes great, and is sometimes the blanket you cling to as the ground rushes to the window of your crashing plane.

    That did not happen, and Florida staged a one-sided, Paleolithic hammering of Georgia in a game the Gators had no business winning. (A hilarious hammering, running the same play over and over because the Bulldogs could not and would not block so much as a stiff fart on the perimeter.) On the flip side, Florida State fans probably hated every second of the Louisville game, even with the madcap comeback, because it makes FSU look like an unfocused team clearly lacking several important parts from last year's world-crushing championship team.

    This is the first year of the Playoff, and the entire apparatus of the college football media Borg is already focused on the battle for the four available slots and the teams fighting for them, and that's fine. It's a new toy, and one with a trophy that looks like the bottle for Iggy Azalea's future drugstore perfume "Authenticity." It's what a lot of people wanted for a long time, and we should be happy for that.

    The Playoff isn't the problem at all. The culprit is the same stupid finger on the fast-forward button in the brain, the irrational urge to come to a result larger than the result itself. It's what I do, at least, spinning through a game's actual events to the sum without considering how fantastic its parts are.

    That's not a college football problem; that's a life issue. You see a big shiny thing at one end, and miss the particulate glory along the way. You miss Diamond Gillis of Colorado School of Mines, and it would be a shame to blur past something so obscure and good in an irrational chase to get to the end of a season, which is all too brief anyway.

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    Auburn's fall makes room in the top four for a new team in the if-the-season-ended-right-now Playoff picture.

    An instantaneous survey of the teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff at this moment, led once again by the most revered and respected institution in all of amateur sports.

    1. Florida State

    An improving, sleepy, reigning champion, as evidenced by only going down by one TD before begrudgingly waking up, putting on a robe, and beating Virginia 34-20 in pajamas. Jameis Winston was error-prone again, throwing two picks to one TD on the night. The positives for the Seminoles: the defense played well, they sort of rushed the ball, and the rest of their schedule is fairly easy.

    Threats: A road game at Miami next week should test the Noles' run defense, as well as their tolerance for working in vast, oceanic silences.

    2. Mississippi State

    Paid UT-Martin for the privilege of losing, 45-16. Not having witnessed a real game, let's just treat this like the bye week it was and instead focus on the very strong case Mississippi State could make for itself next week against Alabama. And also on the embarrassing habits of SEC athletic directors and out-of-conference scheduling.

    Threats: Alabama next week and Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl at the end of the season.

    3. Oregon

    51-27 over Utah does not really tell the full story of the game here. Utah held Oregon close for three quarters, playing a gritty, defensive-minded match punctuated with timely plays from the Utes offense. Then, in the fourth quarter, Oregon decided it did not want a close game, began ripping off huge plays with ease, and turned a 30-27 game with 11 minutes remaining into a 24-point blowout at the end.


    The Ducks also suffered key injuries to center Hroniss Grasu and tight end Pharaoh Brown, which would matter even more if the next two opponents were not lowly Colorado and struggling Oregon State.

    Threats: Oregon State, because anything can happen in a rivalry game? Until the Pac-12 title game, it's really just a matter of finding enough linemen to stand around and watch Marcus Mariota levitate through opposing defenses.

    4. TCU

    The most frightening stat from the Horned Frogs' 41-20 win over Kansas State: after allowing about 100 rushing yards per game on defense, the Wildcats evaporated under the onslaught of TCU's rushing attack, giving up 334 yards on the ground.

    TCU is playing brilliant three-phase football right now, and it would be a largely irrelevant and unnecessary cruelty to mention that one bad quarter against Baylor separates it from a perfect season. Remember that one bad quarter, though? Or that you'll have to go get Trevone Boykin from wherever he's floating in orbit?


    by Nick Pants


    Alabama, winners of a 20-13 game against LSU that was a kind of football amnesia.

    Ohio State, now the Big Ten's greatest hope for a spot after a 49-37 win over Michigan State.

    Baylor, which might have accidentally weakened its strength of schedule by whipping Oklahoma so badly in a 48-14 blowout.

    The steadily climbing Arizona State Sun Devils, victors over Notre Dame, 55-31.

    And the Nebraska Cornhuskers (on a bye week) and Duke Blue Devils (27-10 over Syracuse), both still technically alive for a Playoff spot, whether you want to admit it or not.


    Auburn lost a 41-38 shootout to Texas A&M via a literally and figuratively painful disaster: the buttsnap, as in Auburn center Reese Dismukes snapping the ball into his own ass, turning the ball over to the Aggies defense with less than a minute remaining, and bouncing the last chance to preserve Auburn's title hopes off his posterior. (The Auburn defense ruined its chances at least 40 times prior to this happening, but poor Reese messed up last.)

    Michigan State suffered its second loss of the season, a home defeat to Ohio State in a game reminiscent of its earlier loss this season to Oregon. The Spartans have two quality losses on their resume and the eternal love of Rich Homie Quan. Neither will help them much in the year 2014.

    Notre Dame, generous donors of five turnovers in a 55-31 defeat by the Sun Devils. It was closer than the score indicates, and that is something the committee will certainly consider while nodding and politely shredding your application, Irish.

    Kansas State is also excused, having left its loss to TCU some time in the first quarter, stating its need for "a glass of water and a sound nap of some considerable length." Two losses eliminate it from contention; the nap, however, might help it regroup for the Big 12 stretch run.


    Undefeated Marshall, you're 9-0 and just beat Southern Miss, 63-17, and that's great, even if your strength of schedule won't allow you near the Playoff.

    Same for you, 9-1 Colorado State, victors in a 49-22 matchup against Hawai'i. Screw the Playoff, and go get some Waffle House for the whole team anyway.

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    P.S. That's not what happened at all in real life when the two met pregame. Like, not at all in even a metaphorical sense.

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    GURLEY, FREED. The suspension is over, and maybe Mark Richt will just choose to ease him into the game and okay well yeah maybe not--

    Translated from Richtian into any other person's angerspeak, that would be "I will swing Todd Gurley like the unbreakable skullshattering hammer of an angry and remorseless demon until all lies in tatters and shards around me."

    THEY'RE BRIGHT BOYS AND GIRLS THEY CAN PROBABLY FIGURE IT OUT. Yes, the Georgia Tech vs. Georgia game will only be carried on the SEC Network, a channel not carried on the Georgia Tech campus. Two things, though. One: no one actually pays for cable in Atlanta, and hasn't ever. Two: if any fanbase could find a way to pipe an pirated HD feed into every television on campus using only thirty feet of coax, a single iPhone, and a garbage can lid doubling as a satellite dish, it's Georgia Tech's.

    AND THEY FOUGHT FOR A TROPHY NAMED "GARY". Laugh now, but a rivalry trophy named "Free Wi-Fi" would be more compelling than something like, say, "The Seminole War Canoe."

    OLE MISS CAN STILL WIN THE SEC WEST. Dr. Bo has not declared this patient dead yet. Or this one over here, either. (That second patient is dead, or as Dr. Bo calls it, "Agree to disagree until I run this car battery through 'em.")

    MAWWWWSE. The 30 for 30 on Randy Moss airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET and you must watch it no shut up you will watch it JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP AND WATCH THE FUCKING SHOW IT'S RANDY MOSS BOW DOWN YOU INGRATES.

    YOU COULD DO WORSE. Sewanee as a possible future model for college football isn't the worst idea.

    ETC: This sounds like a graphic novel about Alabama football.

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    A word with the new head coach of surprising UAB, a Jerry Kill dance appreciation, and a reminder that everything worth anything started in the MAC. Your regular weekend college football notebook.


    Bucknell is not the place you expect a grill fire to postpone a game. That feels more like Memphis, Atlanta, or some small school in North Carolina. "East Carolina Football Stadium Burnt To Ground In Barbecue Catastrophe" feels right, and even more so if you add details of locals braving the flames to rescue slabs of ribs.

    Still, this deserves mention because it involves the thing that is my favorite phenomenon in the known universe: something burning down without casualties at a football game.


    Via ESPN


    Since we've all decided to forget about the playoff and celebrate the moment:

    Jerry Kill is a supremely confident locker room dancer, but why the hell not? When a program goes through the multiple low points Minnesota has over the past decade, you have no option but confidence in the things you know you can do.

    For the record, the Gophers can do about three things: run the ball, throw play action passes to Maxx Williams off that run play, and dance in the locker room. Throw in a little defense, and Kill will drop it to the floor like he's at your sister's wedding, because doing three things pretty well means you happen to be a good college football team, or at least one that is 40 points or so better than Iowa. (Football is hard, and being good at more than three things is really rare.)

    Is Minnesota a big, lumbering, run-first, classic Big Ten team with a glorified option game? Are the Gophers as beautiful as watching an industrial shredder eat a couch? Yes on both counts, because that industrial shredder is one of the better unsung stories of 2014. (Unless you like considering that Playoff, when one might point out that TCU beat this pretty good Minnesota team, and thus nudged its strength of schedule up a bit more over Baylor's.)


    As in a famous dead horse. As in:

    To say that Kirk Ferentz is overpaid is not beating a dead horse. It is beating a horse seemingly impervious to all harm until your arms go numb, you give up, and decide to retire to a warm bath of epsom salts for the evening before an early bedtime. Then, after awakening early and feeling refreshed, you repeat the process with no damage to the dead horse whatsoever.

    Kirk Ferentz's gigantic contract at Iowa is that dead horse that doesn't rot, familiar and invariable and what Iowa has. This dead horse would also cost $13 million dollars between now and 2020 to move, because dead horse removal is still, after all the years of pointing this out, super expensive.


    The laziest thing in the world will happen. Someone will reach for "Urban Meyer's Secret: Bringing SEC Speed To The Big Ten" as Ohio State nears a Big Ten title, and he or she should not, for a lot of reasons. Wide receiver play may have demolished Michigan State, but chief culprit Devin Smith wasn't a Meyer recruit, and is an experienced holdover from the Tressel/Fickell regime. These aren't all new recruits from the Meyer era. They're just doing the things Meyer's done all along, and are currently doing very well.

    What Meyer brought to the Big Ten was something he's implemented everywhere he's been: effective run-blocking on the perimeter, space for playmakers, and the willingness to go long off play action once you've broken the defense up sufficiently. Two of J.T. Barrett's TD passes came off play action, and the third was enabled in part by a linebacker watching the run threat from Barrett. (Another Meyer staple, and very similar to what's made Mississippi State so effective this year.)

    P.S. If anything, it's the MAC's to claim first, since Meyer did it all at Bowling Green. It's been the consumer testing lab for Nick Saban, Meyer, Gary Pinkel, and Bo Schembechler, and this is your weekly reminder that everything of football value originates in the MAC. And is purchased and adopted for use elsewhere.

    P.P.S. Barrett throws such a beautiful ball that you wonder if it has an invisible Nerf tail on it. And he's not even supposed to be playing! Please don't let whatever happens at the end of the season spoil this. Your team is averaging a thousand points a game, destroying other teams with precision, and doing it all in a breakneck, rampage-y fashion. They're fun and good, and that's a truly rare combination. Please tell Urban to enjoy it, and if necessary, break out a dictionary to define "enjoy."

    P.P.P.S. Sleep Number beds before every game now, even if you don't understand them, Ohio State.


    These guys love the their Head Coach! #Hook'em

    A video posted by Ephraim (@coachbanda) on

    Another team feeling the joys of a surprisingly successful season: Texas. 5-5 is not living up to any absolute Texas standard, but consider the following:

    1. Charlie Strong is secretly playing a buffet table at left tackle after kicking every lineman off for violating team rules.
    2. Buffet Table is going to be second-team All-Big 12.
    3. The Longhorns nearly beat Oklahoma and are 3-1 in their last four games, with a loss against very good Kansas State team.
    4. Year one was supposed to be totally miserable, and has instead been better than expected?
    5. Tyrone Swoopes has been tantalizing at QB, and with another year of experience, could be pure terror.

    In short, the Longhorns look like a team that sort of not only knows what it is doing, but cares about playing. There's effort and energy and stuff, and coaches being thrown around the locker room for the right reasons.

    Remember this if TCU uncorks 50 on you, Longhorns. TCU might uncork 50 on you, is what we're saying, because Trevone Boykin can fly now, and there might not be much in the playbook to handle airborne ball carriers.

    Via FS1

    (Yet. Charlie will figure that out in the offseason.)


    A quick word with the head coach from another 5-5 team that can be pretty happy about how things worked out this season: Bill Clark, head coach at UAB. (Who talked to us before the Blazers lost 40-24 to another team having a quality rebound year, the 7-3 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, but is still probably pretty happy with how things are coming along at UAB.)

    SH: What's changed for you as you moved from level to level?

    BC: Originally, it was really just the recruiting.

    Where we were at Prattville [High School, about an hour south of Birmingham], we'd really developed the program into something very similar to a college program. We had built an indoor there, we were a Nike school, we had 125 or 130 varsity players. We ran it just like a college program. The biggest difference is the recruiting, and I think having been around so many recruiters coming into my office and recruiting my players, I had a pretty good idea and familiarity with that process.

    My dad was a high school coach for years, and I've kind of grown up in the business. But that's the only real difference.

    SH: Did you sort of take notes from recruiters as they came through Prattville for future reference? Like, "Oh, that guy's got a pretty good pitch, I'll make note of that."

    BC: One hundred percent. If you've got Nick Saban or Tommy Tuberville sitting in your office coming after big name players at your school, you do that. I've been asked to speak around the country and would be at a clinic with Pete Carroll and guys like that, and you get to know what you like and don't like to hear.

    You get to understand what's important to players in the recruiting process. That went a long way in understanding what good recruiting looks like.

    SH: Who are the people you crib from or admire most?

    BC: I think it started with my dad. My dad was a real successful high school coach. The thing I loved about watching him was that his players were real important to him, and that old school tough love was the environment I grew up with, where it was all about not only the things you did on the field, but also the things you did off the field that mattered. What kind of man you become, how you gave back to your community: that's what made me want to be a head coach. That's where I started.

    I started out on the offensive side of the ball, but I figured out pretty quick that the next guy in line was usually the defensive coach. So I moved over to the defensive side of the ball, and that became my passion. I was a big fan of Nick Saban and of Bob Stoops and Pete Carroll, and used to go to their camps. I wouldn't say one guy, but I'm probably a combination of a lot of those guys.

    SH: Those are all defensive coaches who don't really rein in their offenses, guys who are pretty positive about running innovative offenses. How do you get to that as a guy from the defensive side of the ball?

    BC: I'm definitely that way. What's different with me, probably even more different than those guys, is that I started out on the offensive side of the ball. I tell people all the time, I didn't grow up with the 3-4 defense. I called offensive plays, and I think that made me a better defensive coach, and also allows our offense to be a little more free-spirited.

    We were one of the first spread teams in Alabama high school. We were doing some things even the colleges weren't doing with quarterback runs and tempo. Last year, when I became a head coach at Jacksonville State, we set about 60 school records, and 40-something of them were on the offensive side of the ball.

    I know what bothers defenses, and I know what I don't like to see, and it makes us a little more wide-open on offense. I like to be on the cutting edge, offensively.

    SH: What are some of those things you hate to see as a defensive coordinator?

    BC: One of the things I hate to see? When we were in the Sun Belt a few years ago [at South Alabama] we had a good defense, but we were playing Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe and Troy, all tempo offenses at the time. What stood out to me was how hard tempo offenses could be. What it does for defenses -- slowing them down, vanilla-ing them up -- that really stuck with me. That was one of our big points of emphasis last year at Jacksonville State, and we carried it over to UAB.

    SH: That does change how you call your defense, yes? If you're running a defense with more reps, that will inevitably allow more points, etc.?

    BC: Absolutely, it does.

    I say this at UAB all the time, that one thing we don't have is all our people yet, because you gotta have almost 22 players defensively now. Your depth is so important, because you're going to play more snaps. Even going back from 10 or 15 years ago, you're playing 15 or 20 more snaps, and that's 15 to 20 more snaps for the offense to score, and 15 to 20 more chances for the defense to get tired and get banged up. You really need more defensive players who can play, and that's when teams who don't have depth find things getting even harder for them.

    SH: What were the first two or three things you changed when you came to UAB?

    BC: The first thing we saw was that the training wasn't going real good. From a high school standpoint, you had who you had, you didn't get to go recruit guys, so you were big on player development. Yeah, we're going to recruit other guys, but my biggest thing was getting and having the very best situation from a training standpoint. That's nutrition, that's how you train.

    My strength coach, he played for me in high school. Our strength coach is just as important as our offensive and defensive coordinator. We want to be on the cutting edge from a training standpoint, on par with anyone in the country. We had about 30 guys who were injured. We had people who were truly out with injury, so we had to get them strong enough to get them through a full season and compete. That was probably our number one thing.

    SH: UAB is in a weird spot: in a football state, but stuck between two powers that dominate the whole environment. Do you have a lot of people who root for UAB, but also pull for one of the others?

    BC: What I tell people is that I don't have a problem with you rooting for Auburn or Alabama, because we don't play those schools. We've had really good attendance; I think we're fourth or fifth in the conference right now.

    But people want success. They don't need undefeated here. They just see that our guys are working hard and playing their tails off, and really trying to put a good product out there. They've embraced it.

    SH: You did play on the blood red field at Eastern Washington last year.

    BC: That is a great place to play on the FCS level. Just a great place. We had a good game there, played real well down to the wire. Talk about some hard to watch film, though.


    It's a tradition dating back to gladitorial combat: your opponent, no matter the game, cannot focus on its goals when its butt is being bothered. It's simply not possible.

    Many assumed this was a failed wedgie attempt, but repeated viewings of the footage lead me to believe this was a botched pantsing. The downward motion, the incomplete grab of the waistband, the casual walk away from the scene of the crime: it all adds up.

    Jeff Hornacek and John Stockton, two great champions of the distracting midgame pants yank, salute you, Logan Stokes of LSU. This, along with the world's greatest fat guy pass route ever, were the only two things to watch in an otherwise dull Alabama-LSU game.


    The bugabear no one really accounts for enough when summing up a season: injuries.

    Some continue to succeed in spite of them, like Baylor, a team with astonishing production given the string of offensive linemen going down with various ailments. Oregon's gone a long way despite the demands of the sick bay, too, though injuries to center Hroniss Grasu and tight end Pharaoh Brown might finally put something like a dent in the Ducks' ability to generate points. (Might. Their last two game are against Colorado and Oregon State. You might not notice.)

    Then there are teams like Notre Dame, whose matchup against Arizona State got that much trickier when starting middle linebacker Joe Schmidt suffered a season-ending ankle injury prior to the game. They missed him badly, though Schmidt had nothing to do with Everett Golson throwing four interceptions and fumbling once.

    Mind you, Golson almost led his team back to win it, too. Like Jameis Winston, Golson is the cause of and solution to all of his team's problems. Notre Dame has two losses on the year, two respectable losses, and has still had a very good season all told, if you forget the Playoff. And remember this for what it is: a pretty good football team, light years ahead of where it was five years ago.

    You know, WHEN NOTRE DAME WAS LOSING TO GREG ROBINSON-COACHED SYRACUSE TEAMS. AT HOME. This is perspective. Take some when you lose a hard game against the team that's going to get Todd Graham that Florida job.


    As in the annual survey, as in: Is [YOUR SEC TEAM] running the ball enough?

    • Mississippi State: "Yes. No. Maybe. We don't know. This is all very confusing for us. Please go away and come back when things get back to normal around here."
    • Ole Miss: "No, and having that many people in motion at the snap of the ball isn't Christian."
    • Kentucky: "No. And we can't run the ball out of that formation, much less get a decent pick and roll going."
    • Alabama: "No. Bear'd be sick if he could see this, and his immune system won the Sugar Bowl one year against Arkansas."
    • Auburn: "Yes, the ball gets quite sweaty when you run the ball too much. It becomes slippery and difficult to handle. Why, yes, we recently tested this theory. The results were conclusive."
    • LSU: "Yes, but we need to run the ball with that five-star we're going to sign for next year and forget immediately when we sign the next five-star running back we will forget about."
    • Florida: [Question not understood; assumes two-phase offense and legality of forward pass]
    • South Carolina: "Hell no we ain't, might be time to bring back Lou Holtz and remember what football's all about." [is drunk]
    • Mizzou: "Nick Chubb ran the ball enough on us for a whole season. We're good over here."
    • Vanderbilt: "We're happy to be here at any speed, walking or running!"
    • Texas A&M: "Yes, because a pass is really just a long handoff, and we do that a lot, too. Have you seen our helicopter? We have one and it is spectacular. WHOOOOSH. Helicopter."
    • Arkansas: "No, because we still haven't moved this offense to within field goal distance of a liquor store. Please move this offense within 40 yards of a liquor store."
    • Tennessee: "Josh Dobbs." ['that doesn't answer the question] [folds arms and yells] "JOSH DOBBS IN TWENTY FIFTEEN."
    • Georgia: [IF="Mike Bobo is still coordinator"] AND [IF="play is called pass"] THEN: NO

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    Dear Coach Saban,

    We hope you enjoyed your visit to Tiger Stadium, America's greatest sporting environment. Alabama played the game with class and with dignity, and gave the collected fans a real show. For that we thank you, and look forward to seeing you next year in Tuscaloosa. (Hopefully with a better result for our Tigers!)

    Unfortunately, some pockets of fans tarnished the image of this great university by directing a profane chant at you. For that, we are sorry. That is the antithesis of what we represent here at LSU. If it occurs in the future, those responsible will be removed from the stadium and banned from future LSU games.

    Those who threw gourds full of urine and gasoline at the team bus will be reprimanded. The gourds will be recycled in accordance with our "Going Green In Red Stick" campaign, most likely in the form of rich, nourishing compost.

    Additionally, those fans who defamed the reputation of this university by chanting "We'll get you a stepstool so you can fuck an armadillo" will be banned from all future LSU competitions. This does not reflect our values, either.

    We further apologize for the following chants, as well.

    • "Dickshakes and titquakes, Saban's pooped himself a shitcake"
    • "Laissez les bon temps rouler; we'll kidnap your kids one day"
    • "Flap your hands and bitch some more/ Your AOL password's 1-2-3-4"
    • "Hot boudin makes mean poop-poops/We never lost to Bobby Stoops"
    • "Bitch I'm from Louisiana/ Bitch I'm from Louisiana/ My grandma cut your brake lines/ Bitch I'm from Louisiana"
    • "You were a mediocre NFL coach"

    We deny any affiliation with the Louisiana Swamp-Wolf who deflated the tires on your team buses. His name is Lonnie, and he went to Monroe. And an attorney with a reputation for vicious motion practice. We'd advise you to just let this one go. Swamp-wolves don't lose many cases when it comes to Napoleonic Code.

    The small minority of fans bowhunting in the concourses for Alabama fans have been banned from future events. Though LSU medical staff offered, Mr. Stabler refused all treatment for his head wound, and denied he had even been shot in the first place. Please let us know if he's okay.

    The hospital bills of the trainer run over by a passing Mardi Gras float will be paid in full by the LSU Athletic Department. We don't know how it got into the locker room, much less how it got to an estimated 35 miles an hour in twenty feet of hallway, but the LSU police are looking into it.

    We further apologize for the actions of LSU Hulk, LSU Thanos, LSU Lobo, LSU Deadpool, and LSU Rorschach. Especially LSU Deadpool.

    We further apologize that the envelope containing this letter is laced with ricin, cocaine, and confectioner's sugar. I was busy making a King Cake for my cousin, who is a Falcons fan.

    We will pay all cleaning bills resulting from you being splashed with hot gumbo in the third quarter thrown from the stands. That was made by our cousin from Ruston, who lives north of I-10 and can't cook for dick. You deserve to be hit by authentic Louisiana cuisine at its finest, and we recognize that.

    The abduction of Lane Kiffin postgame is also an ongoing investigation. Or it isn't. You let us know how hard you want us to look, okay? This one's on us either way.

    Roll Tide and Go Tigers,

    Joe Alleva


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    Sure, Georgia's offense showed up a week late, but that'll get you a promotion at Time Warner Cable.

    If you've seen Bob Stoops naked, you know that's not the first time he's been embarrassed at home.

    I'm not saying he's going back to Gainesville, but getting killed in your own house by a bear is awfully Florida of Bob Stoops.

    "Two Stoops" sounds like the shittiest winery ever.

    Polite of the Sooners as hosts to try church hugs instead of tackling, though

    Called Coach Switzer after that game. He said "Baylor? I barely know her! And also Dog the Bounty Hunter's still looking for me."

    Strand players in space like that and they'll make you head of the Russian Space Program, Mike Stoops.

    Mike Stoops can't carry a gun in any state until he learns what a safety does.

    Honestly, I'm just happy the people of Norman finally got to see Art that wasn't that poster of dogs playing poker.

    Nice of Notre Dame to hire Dale Chihuly to build their defense for this game.

    Sometimes you pull a win out of your ass, and sometimes you snap a loss into it, Auburn.

    Shoulda been a flag on that play though. Alabama law's very clear on "no butt stuff." You're gay, but that's cool now for Auburn. Thanks, Tim Cook.

    You think Bill Snyder got whooped by the Frogs, you shoulda seen him against Locusts and Boils.

    Doesn't want to pay his young workers, hates unions, does anything to avoid overtime - we sure Pat Fitzgerald ain't a Carnegie?

    Brady Hoke must be amazed whenever he goes to the ATM. Dang machine can give you 20 with no trouble at all!

    Thomas Jefferson would have sold his own children to get that win, UVA.

    Wake Forest is the easy Sudoku puzzle of the ACC, so it's no wonder it took Dabo three hours to figure it out.

    Memphis football's piling up bodies like this is the The First 48.

    You say we don't have an active Ebola case in the United States, and there's the box score for Penn State/Indiana right in front of you. Explain that, science.

    Lose to a gopher like that and a golf course should blow up, Kirk Ferentz.

    The Iowa version of Charlotte's Web is two pages long and the ending ain't great for Wilbur.

    Kirk Ferentz has been off the charts so long Chingy's calling him to hang out.

    Y'all gonna enjoy Kirk Ferentz's personal fragrance. It's called "Unrank'd."

    Best to think of the Iowa offense as your divorced dad - some Saturdays he's showing up, some he ain't.

    That scene with Peter Stormare feeding Kirk Ferentz into a wood chipper was rough, but I trust the Coen Brothers when they wanna take me somewhere I don't normally go.

    Hard to look at Kirk Ferentz's contract and believe Iowa lost a fight for an unmovable pig.

    Lose to Minnesota by that many points and you better see Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury on the opposite bench.

    Don't know why Auburn fans are surprised. The Marshall Plan is all about helpin' your enemies.

    Some people say Auburn couldn't tackle, but I thought they wrapped up on Myles Garrett pretty well damn near every play.

    I bet Donald Rumsfeld and Brian Kelly get along because none of the desert mistakes are their fault.

    If he beats a team named after immigrants like that, well, Todd Graham just might beat Joe Arpaio in an election out there.

    When the devil came to Jesus in the wilderness, he dared him to turn stones to bread. Mighty Christ-like to make turnovers instead, Brian Kelly.

    Least Doctor Faustus kept it close in the first half.

    Todd Graham's beaten the Irish twice, putting him just ahead of Greg Robinson and several spots behind "carbohydrates" on the all-time win list.

    I'd give Les Miles a pass on that last series against Alabama but he'd probably just sail it into the third row.

    Jameis says his play is hurtin' FSU, but TPD's waiting a few more months before interviewin' anyone.

    Nice job, playoff committee. Normally the only way to get Tallahassee to fall in any set of rankings is passin' out free penicillin and bike locks.

    Kansas tore down the goalposts after beatin' Iowa State, but the goalposts still get 3 million over the next two years.

    Did y'all know some Vanderbilts were booked on the Titanic but didn't make the trip? Too bad the S.S. East Division doesn't allow cancellations.

    Getting in without doing a lot of work because of your name? I apologize, Alabama. Maybe you really are the Harvard of the South.

    Kick Lane Kiffin off one bus and watch him abandon the ground game for life.

    Seminoles beating a cop? Well, that's happened before.

    Marshall's whoopin everyone and not getting any attention for it, so expect a scholarship offer from Florida State soon.

    Normally you gotta go to the Treasury shredding room to see green get ripped apart like Michigan State did.

    The movie's called 300 because that's the number of passing yards you need to kill a bunch of Spartans. (No I ain't making that up. It's a damn tribute.)

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    This week's Shutdown Fullcast features:

    • a bold science experiment with the college football playoff rankings
    • tries to parse the meaning of "excessive scoring"
    • gets Kirk Ferentz's buyout totally wrong, because it would only be about $225K a month and not $700K
    • answers reader tweets and figures out why Dabo Swinney's terrified of couches
    • describes Jimbo Fisher's Christlikeness (again)
    • Guesses which team will be the first to kick a field goal in OT when it needs a touchdown.

    Also, Maryland plays Michigan State this week, and Arkansas will probably lose another heartbreaking game! Aren't you glad you stayed alive for these momentous happenings. As always, download the podcast directly here, listen on iTunes, or use the Soundcloud player below.

    P.S. if you didn't know how Lincoln was beaten to death and deserved it, watch the documentary footage below.

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  • 11/13/14--07:16: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 11/13/14

    YOU'RE ALL DEAD NOW. Oh, it's just another J.Cole-themed video until Gurley's jersey appears.

    It's fun to say that Todd Gurley will roll into this game and run for 200 yards, but that's inaccurate given the layoff and Auburn's periodic ability to stop the run. Nick Chubb has to get carries, too, so Gurley will top out at like, 175 yards, tops. (Also, Auburn will run for 300 yards and run the ball at least 55 times, because this is what Auburn always does.)

    WELL SURE THAT SEEMS SIMPLE ENOUGH. The hopes of Miami depend not so much on Brad Kaaya making huge plays against Florida State, but on him not turning the ball over. This is a reminder that some football cliches are cliches because many of them happen to be annoyingly totally true.

    IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. Ohio State will finish with a great record and astonishing numbers and possibly come short of the playoff thanks to the one thing they can't help: their schedule. In other Ohio State news, read Ramzy on going to the Middle East in the midst of a football season, and how your website's name can make Israeli customs agents nervous.

    BLOODY FOREHEAD MAN SPEAKS. Rusty Whitt is the strength coach at ULL, but you may remember him best from the time he showed up with a bloody forehead on the sidelines for the Cajuns' bowl game. Turns out, people used to shoot at him as part of his job.

    GO TO HELL, CLEMSON. It's been a few days, so here is another horrendous idea from athletics administrators.

    WAIT, THAT'S ACTUALLY NOT A BAD IDEA. One of the things Michigan State is considering is not a terrible idea: heating the student section in East Lansing.

    BIGASS TEXAS THINGS. Wright went to nine different spots in Texas on a road trip. For extra fun, read the whole thing out loud in his voice.

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    1. Halter Frodo

    2. Froyo

    3. Big Swede

    4. Marmaduke

    5. Die Hard Villain

    6. Dopenhagen (after a late hit on the QB)

    7. Big Swede

    8. Hans Christian Mandersen

    9. Butter Cookie

    10. Lethal Weapon Villain

    11. The Lineman With The Dragon Tattoo

    12. Entenmann's

    13. Sex Volvo

    14. Scarlett Bro-hansson

    15. Hockey

    16. Daykrone 500

    17. Lego Suh

    18. QB 2

    19. Lars Von FEAR

    20. "Hey, Dutch"

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