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    WHY


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    A DEPRESSING NOTE ABOUT A DEPRESSING THING

    That's my favorite question Holly asks here in a long list of unanswered questions: why the hell did Alabama even bother with Jonathan Taylor in the first place?

    Because he's good at football isn't a good enough answer. If you assume you Saban thought they could set him up in an environment where he would not regress back to domestic violence, then Alabama weirdly assumed they could do what fully funded domestic violence programs often fail to do, and that they did so without asking his former coach or the Athens D.A. about Taylor or his case. That's demonstrably strange on Alabama's part, particularly for a football program most people assume monitors their players with no fewer than eight unpaid grad assistants at a time.

    And if you don't assume that, but instead simply believe that Saban cynically dismissed any questions about Taylor's behavior in the name of on-field production, well...that doesn't make much sense, either. Alabama's third-string defensive tackle is a three-star who would be starting on most other teams; their eye-popping giant of a tight end, O.J. Howard, was reduced to an afterthought in their talent-crammed offense. When Alabama even starts to feel a pinch of talent drop, it sends out Nick Saban, a human shark who feeds solely on the hopes and dreams of athletic 18 year olds, out to get more. A desperation for talent is a terrible plea here in any case, but particularly in this one.

    That's one question that stumps here. Another: Saban and by extension Alabama ended their relationship with him, but ultimately why? What's the larger purpose here? To keep your school from being embarrassed, or to genuinely act in the best interests of the parties involved? Because I'm not sure on much here, and am deeply suspicious of anyone who is. If Taylor had been exiled from football altogether-- not just from Alabama, or the next enabling school down the line --there's no guarantees he wouldn't have become a repeat offender. He wasn't, and did it again anyway. That's how batterers work. They might stop, and they might just go kill their spouse. And whether treatment, jail, or therapy stops it or not can seem terrifyingly random from case to case.

    And yes, I'm pretty sure Nick Saban shouldn't have touched him in the first place, but that's not the repellent part of the conversation here. That the first question asked is: What is or isn't in the interests of a college football program? That's the move, to run to the institution and fret about its decisions and the reputation of the extremely wealthy men running this institution, and not about the people involved. That's the nauseating thing after the act to me. It just is, and even after trying I can't really even begin to articulate all the reasons why.* It just feels like failure in every goddamn direction, including this one.

    *A good start, though, would be the AD's statement hoping "that Jonathan and the young lady involved can deal constructively with the issues that led to this situation." Because being in an alleged physical altercation with a 6'4", 315 man is something a woman can deal with "constructively."


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    OR CLEANING PRODUCTS AT ALL

    George Whitfield, why are you doing that. It's a broom.  Do you understand anything about cleaning products at all. You are allegedly pretty good at preparing college QBs for the draft and training them but George, George. You don't know what brooms do. You literally have no clue what brooms do or how they work.

    George this will get out of hand--

    GeorgeTrimmer

    GEORGE IS THAT PLUGGED IN? Jesus, George, stop saying that. A hedge trimmer is not a toy and it is not a defensive end or anything like a defensive end. Defensive ends will not rend flesh! Unless they are Shawn Oakman, and let's be honest even then his teeth won't get very far before he's pulled off of you by teammates. That's dangerous, George. No, we don't care if Trent Dilfer likes it, either. Trent Dilfer thinks quarterbacks are neurosurgeons and licensed to practice in three states. One of those states is South Carolina and George WE CAN'T SAY FOR SURE THIS ISN'T TRUE BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE.

    Cleaning products are serious things that should be kept away from children, George. And--

    GeorgeBleach

    What the holy smoking hell are you doing George. That is a cleaning product and no, no, no, this has nothing to do with football. No, we don't care how many times you yell about keeping a product clean. That is bleach and if you throw it in a quarterback's eyes or mouth it could harm him badly and no, I don't care if Ben Roethlisberger drinks a whole quarter before every game, it's not allowed here. That might fly in Pittsburgh but they put fries on their sandwiches because they are too lazy to wash a plate. Never let Pittsburgh tell you what's safe for human consumption. That's what we're saying here, along with "Please stop throwing bleach at quarterbacks."


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    We asked the Internet what sporting people you could win a fight with. Most of you lied.

    If you're like me, the first thing you do when you walk into a room is figure out who you're going to have to fight first. This isn't an exact science, but it's necessary. In a survival situation you need to know who you can take, and who you're going to have to run from screaming while attempting a hasty escape.  For the record: I have done this in every room I have ever walked into ever, and rate myself pretty low because I am very, very bad at fighting.

    With this in mind, I asked Twitter to take a look around the sporting world and honestly think about this:

    The answers came, and I fear many of them were not honest. Let's review how the average person honestly stacks up against their chosen foe from the broad sporting universe.

    Golf only seems like an easy pull. Golfers look average enough, and for the purposes of this experiment we'll assume they're not allowed to bring clubs into the equation. Fighting Rory McIlroy seems like a bad idea, because he is very strong, but Bubba has the muscle definition of a beer koozie. Miss the first frantic swing of those long arms, and you've probably got a 50-50 shot with him.

    Verdict: I think you could probably stand a decent chance of beating up Bubba Watson.

    Yeah, you could beat up Bob Costas. I don't even think it's a matter of height. Costas weighs so little that staying on the ground in a grappling situation would be nigh-impossible. But what if he's like a wolverine and goes for the tender parts -- stop, stop. He's a baseball fan. He will expect you to draw up terms of engagement first, and allow him a warm-up period of stretching and light running. This is when you throw him into a nearby trash receptacle and declare victory.

    Verdict: I think almost any of you could beat up Bob Costas.

    Many people misunderstood this question as "Who would you like to beat up?" I saw Stephen A. Smith at SXSW recently and two things struck me about him. First, he was walking through a hive of geeks in plaid shirts, and clearly looking for someone to recognize him in an environment where no one would. He seemed oddly disappointed about this, and I respect that. I like my famous people to preen and demand instant recognition at all times, and SAS appeared to be doing just this. Nice work, Stephen.

    Second, Stephen A. Smith is pretty fuckin' big, or at least bigger than you think he's going to be. His head alone is large enough to withstand some punishment. Add in a ripped, very fit, and utterly friendless Skip Bayless to the equation, and I am fairly certain you will sustain serious damage here. (Even if you consider them punchable.) Your only hope is to distract them by yelling out, "TONY ROMO JUST NEEDS A CHANCE" and hope they turn on each other.

    Verdict: You do not want this fight.

    See "Costas" but with "more precautionary vaccinations in the clinic afterwards." I think you'd be pretty scratched up, too. He's a biter.

    Verdict: Yeah, you could probably beat Mike Lupica up.

    No, no, I see the dead horse joke there. But let's assume Secretariat comes back from the dead here, though, and this is a really, really hard fight for you. If the horse stays committed, it's just going to kick you to death. And if it doesn't, it runs off, and can you really claim victory huffing and puffing after a thousand-pound animal too dumb to know it can just turn around and kick you to death? You would? Cool, I just want to make sure you're OK with that, Mr. Wrestling Heel-type guy.

    Verdict: You're probably a push in a fight with the horse because, dammit, horses are unpredictable.

    I'm deeply torn here between noting that Cristiano Ronaldo is in elite shape and is supremely well conditioned. Additionally, should he decide to kick you anywhere, this fight is over and you are a crying pile of goo to be swept into the nearest storm drain. But he is a soccer player, and is by trade trained to mostly simulate conflict, not engage in actual tusslin'. He's also too pretty to fight, and that is not an insult. He is beautiful, and brings much joy to many people with his gorgeous face and eight immaculately sculpted abdominal muscles.

    Verdict: basically the same as Secretariat, depends on if he's committed. (P.S. -- He is beautiful and even men should admit that even if he is a giant pain in the ass.)

    Cowherd I'll give you, random Internet person, or at least give you a fair shot at via him being kind of normal-sized and thin, and also because I think he'd just turtle up and wait for the authorities to show. He's probably had to do it before, and that's probably not an exaggeration. No shame to Colin: this is exactly what I would do in a fight, too.

    Dan Le Batard has talked on his show about how bad he is at fighting, and while I respect the honesty his size alone is problematic for an opponent. Le Batard is HUGE, and not the lanky kind of huge, either. Like, 6'3 at least, and with some meat on his bones. If you have a ground game I'd give you an edge because maybe you could chop that tree down, but otherwise I'm giving Dan the advantage over a random opponent.

    Then again, you appear to be from Ohio, Westside Buckeye, so I assume you're typing this wearing Bony Acai fighting trunks and shaving your head while pondering what sprawl defense Dan's going to employ. (P.S. -- Everyone in Ohio is just waiting for an excuse to beat someone up and validate that $125 MMA gym membership.)

    Verdict: If you're from Ohio, sure. Otherwise, nah to Le Batard, and yes to Cowherd.

    If fighting Cristiano Ronaldo is like brawling with a horse, Messi would be like a miniature pony. Mini-ponies are adorable, but they are also mean as snakes, something you can see for yourself when watching a small child run toward one for the first time, and leave crying with a nasty flat-toothprint on one arm and a bruise on the other. Something in me says Messi is so well-programmed he would avoid the fight at all costs to play the next match, but if he decides to finish it you're getting a headbutt and groin kick in quick, blinding succession.

    Verdict: Lionel Messi would probably beat you up badly, and flee the scene before the refs showed up.

    Even if we don't include the bench that's still nine middle schoolers you will have to fight in rapid succession. Conditioning will be a concern. Plus, this being a little league championship team and all, several of these players will have military experience to lean on in a combat situation. (If their wives come in from the stands, you're doubly screwed.) Find them first if you hope to make it out, which you will probably not.

    Finally: Have you forgotten how badly middle school boys just want an excuse to kill someone? You've probably forgotten this.

    Verdict: You could probably not beat up a Championship Little League Team via math and numbers and fatigue.

    If he enters the ring pantsless and wearing a silk robe, you won't go near him. That's his only hope. Otherwise, sure. I'll give you the advantage over an 80-year-old man.

    Verdict: You could probably beat up Donald Sterling unless he's not wearing pants. (Note: He's probably not going to be wearing pants.)

    More people said Eli Manning than anyone else. This is why you should never listen to a majority of people on the Internet about anything ever. Eli Manning is 6'4" and gets hit by defensive ends regularly. You're going to have a hard time even reaching his face, much less landing a punch that feels like anything more than a love tap. I don't even know if Eli would know you were trying to fight him, actually. He's so laid-back it might take minutes to rouse his anger even with extreme violence, and so used to random beatings from actual paid athletes your mortal attempts might not register.

    Verdict: No, Internet, you probably couldn't beat up Eli Manning.

    I might say here that T.I., aka Mayor of Atlanta Clifford Harris, is not an athlete in the strictest sense of the word. He did, however, attempt to fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. despite T.I. being a generously estimated 5'8 in shoes with no professional fighting experience. For bonus points: He tried to do this in a casino Fatburger in Las Vegas, no less. I have no proper estimate of his actual skills, but if he was willing to fight the most fearsome boxer of his generation in a burger joint crawling with security? You might win, you might lose. But you will bleed, and if Tiny gets involved you will bleed a lot more.

    Verdict: Internet, I'm not really sure if you can or can't beat up T.I., but I know it would probably hurt a lot either way.

    I'm gonna have to give you projected outcomes on the current cast members, and they are not optimistic. (For you.)

    • Bill Plaschke: Loss. He's a big dude, and probably looking for an excuse to freak out and vent some nerd rage.
    • Frank Isola: Loss He went to Maryland and lives in New York so I assume he goes for the nutkick first. Seems fit, too.
    • Kate Fagan. Loss. BAD LOSS. Will absolutely wreck your shit.
    • Jackie McMullan: Loss.
    • Bob Ryan: Win, but you won't feel good about it.
    • Kevin Blackistone: Win. A blind guess because I've never met him, but I know he went to Northwestern and would thus rather remind you he went to Medill than fight.
    • J.A. Adande: Loss. He's pretty fit, though he went to Northwestern, too.
    • Jemele Hill: Loss. Don't fight anyone from Detroit, ever.
    • Bomani Jones: Loss. His arms are like 8 feet long each. He'll shame you about it on Twitter afterwards, too.
    • Woody Paige: Win. Mostly because he's coming up on 70, but a win is a win, soldier.
    • Tim Cowlishaw: No clue. He is an older man with a goatee, which means he either is the easiest man to fight in the world, or the hardest. Toss a coin and best of luck to you.
    • Michael Smith: Loss. Former high school athlete from New Orleans isn't a real great draw for anyone. If co-host Jemele Hill jumps in, you're gone.
    • Pablo Torre: Loss. Pablo lived without a toilet seat in his apartment for a while, so assume the leg strength is formidable. He also lived without a toilet seat, and clearly doesn't care if he lives or dies.

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    YOU'LL HAVE TO DO UNTIL REINFORCEMENTS SHOW UP

    Spring practice is fun because generally coaches are in heavy dad mode, and as we've noted elsewhere, there are so many different kinds of dads in this world. Right now, Charlie Strong is this kind of dad: "I'm going to hope you can get an academic scholarship or something, and get Mom pregnant again and see if we can't shake a starting tackle out of these genes."

    When asked if he liked the talent level of his roster at Texas (here, around the 13:00 mark), this was his answer.

    You always want more...but it's what it is right now, and we gotta work with what we have. That's why you recruit each and every year where you can make it better, make your team better.

    The best part about Charlie Strong is he'll just straight-up tell his current roster this, make them sweat blood for his affection, and somehow come out in November with a team playing eight or nine percentage points better than their theoretical max. Good morning. You're clearly lacking, and Charlie Strong just wants you to know we're all just going to have to work with that today. IT'S LIKE HE'S TALKING TO US ALL, MAN.

    (HT: Ian Boyd)


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    Dear Golf Digest:

    This is a cover, I guess. It has a woman wearing a towel, golfer Lexi Thompson, as the magazine's cover for their "fitness and power" issue.

    It is the second topless cover in a row for the magazine, as the editor points out here. (Rory McIlroy got the Green David treatment last month, or something like that.) That note hasn't stopped criticism of the cover for sexualizing yet another female athlete in a national publication, or for at least not giving men the same proportion of shameless golf-themed sexifying.

    Two things here. First, I just want to make sure that, as a fantastically out-of-shape person, we're being inclusive here, both with our definitions of power and of fitness.

    JonDalyGolfDigest

    Second: here is a link to a barely SFW and probably NSFW picture of golf legend Tom Kite wearing nothing but a napkin, an ancient heart monitor, socks, and some athletic shoes.

    ★★★

    SB Nation presents: The Bracket of Life, Part 2


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    NAMASTE

    HoldMyPhone

    This

    What is this

    ExcuseMe

    IHaveNoIdea

    dontknowiftrue

    And

    cornelwest

    IPoopedMyPants

    Youseemdecent

    StopTalking

    NotYourFault

    talkingisbad

    wordsareunnecessary

    justtryit

    MuschampYellinAgain

    BritneyShhhh

    MuschampComeOn

    MourinhoSilence

    MuschampBoard
    MuschampBoard
    MuschampBoard

    IKnow

    ItsNotThatEasy

    DontGiveUp

    IBelieveInYou

    Namaste

    WarioThumbs


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    THERE'S NEVER A BETTER TIME THAN THE PRESENT

    Hello, friend. Is this a bad time?

    Stop, and let me answer that question for you: there is no bad time to purchase your season tickets for 2015 Kentucky Wildcat football.

    We're working hard in on the practice field this spring, getting stronger and building on the improvement from the 2014 season. With Patrick Towles coming back under center, we hope to field one of the most electrifying offenses in the conference. On defense, we have some of the best young talent in the nation looking to prove themselves and make Big Blue Nation proud.

    Season tickets are available for as little as $320 for the entire home schedule. Come on out, and be a part of Kentucky's next championship tradition!

    Go Cats,

    Coach Stoops


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    A FAIR BUT ENTHUSIASTIC SCOUTING REPORT OF THE MAN WHO BODYSLAMMED PLIES

    1. Okay, so this is a stationary target, and maybe not the best example for someone looking to scout a possible tackler. Also we should note that the rapper bodyslammed here, Plies, is like 5'5" and not a very heavy thing. This isn't a man piledriving 2 Chainz or Gucci. Plies could probably be lifted overhead by most reasonably strong people allowed a warm-up, some cooperation from Plies, and a good dip-and-drive before hoisting him skyward. It'd be some work, but you could do it, person of some strength.

    2. However, we should also note that this is a football move. Plies played wide receiver for Miami-Ohio in the 1990s under his given name, Nod Washington, and was reasonably productive in 1996. Nod is short for "Algernod," his first name.

    3. The coach for that Miami team: Randy Walker, who later went to Northwestern, succeeded Gary Barnett, and kept the program at a relatively successful level given Northwestern's historical miseries and died at 52 after suffering a heart attack in 2006.

    3. No, Plies has no idea this is coming. But it is similar to a wide receiver who fails to account for a safety streaking downfield towards them, so not totally dissimilar? Did Plies do this a lot as wide receiver, getting blindsided after running into traffic? This seems like something Plies probably did a lot.

    4. But on the football side: no, the gentleman here is not afraid of contact, and clearly doesn't fear his opponent. He has good strength and explodes through the hips well, and finishes the tackle clean to the floor. He also doesn't mind being in the pile, or setting a tone the rest of the team can follow. Our chief reservations? He lacks size, if not height, and doesn't really demonstrate any ability to move laterally here.

    5. In conclusion: we'd totally offer this dude a chance to walk-on based on limited film, but would not offer a scholarship.

    6. P.S. of course this happened in Tallahassee.

    7. Given that this man was not arrested, he might already be a football player.


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    "HERE IS YOUR TRASH, GAINESVILLE!"

    All of this is completely accurate in every way and THAT'S THE BEST PART. IT'S JUST THE BEST PART OF THIS MAN CACKLING HIS ASS OFF AND JUST LISTING FACTS ABOUT THE MUSCHAMP ERA. We sincerely hope this is how Will remembers it, and that he did the garbage truck thing for Homecoming on purpose, because that would mean he has a sense of humor about it and all. (And for $6.3 million, he should have a sense of humor about it.)

    (Via UABTodd)


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    Sorting through the top players, plants, and fans after spending the first round at Augusta.

    1. Miguel Angel Jimenez. THE GAWD. I don't even know what he shot while I was following him because he transcends numbers. Jimenez has on spat-patterned golf spikes and is a 51-year-old man with a curly blonde ponytail who started his round with a cigar. He put it in the water and stretched out his hands in a casual plea with Mother Earth like, damn girl how could you do that to me like that, but I still love you and later we're all going in the hot tub with a bottle of Cava. He has a group of bros who follow him around and, without coordination or knowledge of the other's thoughts, all say this exact dialogue out loud.

    BRO A: Dude.

    BRO B: Bruh.

    BRO A: Look at his gut.

    BRO B: I know. I KNOW.

    BRO A: Zero fucks, bruh.

    BRO B: Zero. He's a god. He's the ideal, man.

    BRO A: Zero fucks.

    BRO B: ZERO.

    Miguel Angel Jimenez bends over a lot even though he really doesn't have to because he knows Mother Earth wants to check out his butt and admire his flexibility. After putting a shot in the water yesterday and taking a drop, in a situation where Tiger Woods would be self-harming and forcing the mic holders to flee to the next hole, Jimenez turned toward a spectator encouraging him and honestly, no lie, Jimenez gave him a sidelong happy look that said all of the following things at once.

    • "Thank you."
    • "My friend, life is a vale of tears, but we may find a good hill and lay a slip 'n slide upon it, so that we may at least laugh and make a carnival ride of its sorrows."
    • "For dinner, I will consume more butter than is medically advisable and grow stronger and glow from its power."
    • "I am not wearing underwear and never have, for spiritual reasons."
    • "I drove here from Spain. The Ferrari is capable of so much more than you imagined."

    He'll probably miss the cut and not even be playing this weekend but whatever, Miguel Angel Jimenez is the most important golfer at Augusta this week, and every week.

    1A. Kevin Stadler. The rich, beefy athleticism missing from so much modern golf.

    (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    2. That Korean dude I saw toss a whole beer into a storm drain so he could catch up with Gunn Yang and watch him tee off. You can't run at Augusta National, but you can power-waddle with a fierceness, and like a B-17 pilot flying in on one engine this dude decided he needed to drop weight and drop it fast.

    3. The Eisenhower Tree. Such a baller of a tree they keep a whole slice of it in a glass case in the media building. MOURN YA TILL I JOIN YA.

    4. Ernie Els. DUDE HE'S HUGE. Easily the first guy to pick in a fantasy bar brawl team draft, and it's not even close. Look, if you search for his height he's sticking his tongue out at lesser, shorter creatures in his midst.

    ErnieElsGasFace

    5. Sweaty five-year-old, who did not want to be there. Flushed cheeks, bucket hat, a shirt stained with a popsicle or some form of ice cream, a blooming sunburn because grandpa believes in stripping the weakest layers of skin away from the body to make you stronger, a comically huge badge around his neck, and the kind of thousand-yard stare you only get when quietly enduring loving indoctrination from an elder, who secretly hopes you will be the next Rory McIlroy. It gets better, child, especially when they figure out you can't hit a 5-iron for shit.

    6. Charl Schwartzel. Not because he's playing outrageously well, but because he's got the first name of an indie rapper from like, Oklahoma City.

    7. Freddie Couples. (THIS SLOT SPONSORED BY DADS. DADS: FIST-PUMPING AT EVERY OLD GUY PAR AND LOOKING AT THE CLUBS AND THINKING YANNO THE SENIOR TOUR CAN'T BE THAT HARD SINCE 1938)

    8. Bernhard Langer. Pro: Still looks like a German commando. Con: Uses an anchored putter.

    9. Tiger Woods. I followed Tiger for a few holes yesterday, and while he is not the most profane golfer or the only profane golfer, he is by far the one who still, deep into adulthood, sounds most like a toddler finding an empty box of popsicles in the fridge. How anyone could see his cussing as a crime against any sport is hilarious to me, because he can't even say "fuck" without making it sound like a five-year-old trying on the word for fun. He's a ridiculously wealthy man with every material comfort in the world with the best education money can buy, but he can't drop a believable "goddammit" to save his life. It's endearing, really, like yayyyy, Tiger's really bad at something else.

    10. The Guy Talking Shit About Players Two Feet From Their Ears. Rope is amazing because it has the power to turn real life into a TV, and the real people playing a game in front of you into characters who can't hear you. On No. 18, some dude next to me, with Billy Horschel standing right there, just said "God, that guy's an asshole" like he was parked in front of a flatscreen of Horschel standing on the tee.

    11. Plants. STOP FILLING THE AIR WITH YOUR LUSTY, ALLERGEN-RICH SEX PARTICLES.


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    Sorting through the best sandwiches, insects and glutes during the final round at Augusta.

    1. Miguel Angel Jimenez. Not even playing and still dominating the charts.

    1a. Egg Salad Sandwich. Make all the noise you like about the Pimento Cheese Sandwich. The one sandwich they cannot keep in stock at the media center is the Egg Salad Sandwich, the real lord of the Augusta Concessions leader board. Full disclosure: I do not like cheese, and think it is what desperate French monks ate when they ran out of actual food sometime in the Middle Ages. The stacks of untouched, green paper-wrapped Pimento Cheese sandwiches in the Media Room cooler do not lie. (P.S. If you disagree with this opinion, remember that a lot of journalists do not know what food is, and will often eat objects bearing no resemblance to actual food. Grantland Rice once ate the wax fruit out of a bowl at Augusta National! I may have just made this up!)

    2. Jordan Spieth. He's been so unnaturally good that any believer in the natural order of things and balance and stuff would have to bet on him teeing off backwards into the gallery under the control of malign demon hands. Contra: he is 21, and may be too young, brilliant, and life-dumb to know just how doomed he might or might not be.

    3. Bees. It's kind of a mystery how Augusta manages to keep the course largely bug-free, but there are guesses. One: massive, massive doses of pesticides and insect repellent. Two: Biting female mosquitoes are still female, and hence have a difficult time getting into the club in the first place. Three: They do the same kind of sorcery Disney does, and use natural predators and other entomological interventions to achieve the effect of pest control. There might be something to the third theory. The azaleas on the 6th hole are bug free, but the tree above those azaleas along the pedestrian walkway is clearly the pure uncut cocaine of the bee world. The whole freakin' tree hums.

    4. Tiger's swing. Or his release point, or its precise location over the hips, or the backwing, or sub-backswing, or the counter-shift of the tibia in reaction to the internal rotation of the patella, or hell I don't know there are apparently 93 different components of a golf swing and all of them have to be in perfect working order or the golfer in question will fall apart like a cheap mannequin right there and then on the course. Greg Norman had to be put together like C-3PO after the back nine in 1986, riding in pieces in a sling on his caddie's back! Also, Tiger's glutes are "firing properly," which seems like a very personal thing to know about anyone.

    4a. Tiger's glutes. Championship glutes. Gutty, gritty glutes, even. EXPLODING glutes.

    5. Guy who just yells out "Phil" at Phil Mickelson. Phil Mickelson's fans are prone to just yelling out his name at him, not in a particularly encouraging way, but like someone who is not happy about seeing Phil Mickelson wandering through their garden in the early morning. Phil. PHIL. Phil, you and the squirrels have decimated my tomatoes. Please get out of there. PHIL. That's your name: Phil, and I want you to move on before I come back here with my .22.

    6. Shoehorns. I could agree before coming here that there was a theoretical limit on the number of shoehorns that might be necessary for one place to have, but now I know: there is a place that has entirely too many shoehorns, and it is the locker room at Augusta National. If you need one, just ask them! They will definitely not give you one, and will summon large security people to remove you from the premises.

    7. Squirrels. There is not one on this course despite squirrels ruling large swaths of Georgia. Either the Squirrel Rapture has happened over the weekend, or we all now know what John Daly's job is when he comes here: waiting in a tree with a silenced sniper rifle and a sack for his victims. He also hunts squirrels too, probably.

    8. Weird cords going up trees. Some of the trees on the course have odd cords going up them for mysterious reasons. This is leading us to the idea that Alex Jones should narrate Masters footage Jim Nantz-style, all the while theorizing about how the Bilderberg Group keeps the greens dry. This is what this could sound like, in theory; it is clearly the future of sports broadcasting.

    9. SEC Coaching Productivity. Dead last. Spurrier was on the course on Friday, Gus Malzahn's here on Sunday, and rival coaches take note: none of them may use their cellphones in any capacity whatsoever.


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    IT MEANS HARD WOOD, MAN

    He is 78, an age when you usually only appear on television with the words "Missing" or "Chinese Premier" under you name. But Lou Holtz is leaving ESPN on a high note--namely that after years on television, he leaves with the same image coming out that he had going into the game, i.e. that Lou Holtz at 78 was just as barking insane as young Lou Holtz was.

    Honestly, you probably won't miss Lou that much, even when you get the knee-jerk emotional reaction of "awww, that guy will no longer be here, even though I really only noticed him when he did crazy things once or twice a year."  Holtz's departure and Rece Davis's shifting role at ESPN mean College Football Final is dead in the format as you know it. (They're probably not going to build a show around Mark May, unless that show is based strictly on Mark May's now-dormant Twitter feed. Which would be FINE.)

    That doesn't mean the show itself is dead, mind you: as long as something's sponsored, ESPN will do it, and college football only sits second to the NFL in terms of being a hole advertisers are all too happy to throw money down. That's largerly a good thing, even with the cast change. Take three people, make them watch 14 hours of college football coverage, and then ask them to try to talk on television after midnight, and the results will be pretty similar no matter who you're working with in on screen. Holtz was a cast member, sure. But the real star of the show has been and will always be sleep deprivation.


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    Spencer Hall went to Augusta National, the world's best imitation of a real place

    I. A respectable corporate office building's worth of hills

    Old dudes openly consider calling the EMS cart to get back up to the clubhouse -- or at least two old dudes I overheard during the tournament were thinking hard about it. On television Augusta National looks like a smooth, pine-lined tunnel of cart paths and fairways, but what anyone who's trundled up and down the course will tell you is this: shit is hilly. The drop from the first tee to the green on the 12th hole is 176 feet, or around the height of a respectable corporate office building. It winds a lot of that elevation out in duplicate and triplicate, too, pitching up and down from the 12th and back up to the final climb up to the high ground of the 18th.

    You can't tell that on TV, though. You can't tell a lot of things watching the course on a flatscreen. Even in HD, there is no way to see the massive dropoff to the left of the green at the third, or see just how concealed the two bunkers behind the green on the seventh are. The blast out from the 18th tee looks like a cinematic straight drop onto clean fairway, but in reality it's a threaded needle through shot-eating trees on the right and a gigantic bunker to the left. You may know there is a green up there. But heading toward the high ground, there's no way of seeing what you're shooting at -- or that more bunkers lay just out of sight over the lip of a very short horizon.

    II. A Camofleur

    TrenchWarfare1

    A Scottish surgeon named Alister MacKenzie designed Augusta with Bobby Jones. MacKenzie followed a bizarre path into golf architecture, even by the terms of a profession that in the early-1900s was still open to novices and the random unpedigreed genius. MacKenzie, after training to become a surgeon at Cambridge, went to serve in the Second Boer War in South Africa. The conflict between the Afrikaans-speaking settlers and the British from 1899-1902 featured some grimly familiar features of 20th century warfare: concentration camps, trench warfare, scorched earth tactics, and a protracted, costly, and an unpopular guerrilla war opposed by many at home in England.

    During the conflict, MacKenzie the surgeon became something different -- a "camofleur," in his own words, an expert at using local cover to conceal British troops, supplies, bunkers, and supply lines. He learned a lot of his tactics from the outgunned but "cunning" Boers. Without superior numbers or firepower, the settlers instead used their familiarity with the landscape to ambush British troops tramping haplessly through alien territory.

    An anonymous British officer writing under the pseudonym "Linesman" recognized the advantage almost immediately:

    " ... I think most soldiers would agree that if a dozen Boers and a dozen English privates were pitted against each other, say from opposite ends of a three-mile stretch of average South African country, the Britons would probably be surrounded, without, perhaps, having caught even so much as a glimpse of their opponents, unless the glimpse were given them on purpose."

    MacKenzie developed a reputation as an expert in the most lethal form of landscape architecture by doing precisely what the Boers did. The Boers would never, ever run a trench in a straight line; straight lines stuck out immediately to the human eye in the rolling, curvy landscape of the Transvaal. The Boers dug in behind low rises to hide their positions; they turned blind corners and long curves into ambush lanes with clear paths of fire. The surgeon used a super Frenchified title for his new profession, and stole the Boer camouflage playbook wholesale.

    He was good at it. The British adjusted their tactics, defeated the Boers, got the gold mines they were after, and annexed Boer territories into what would become the modern day South Africa. MacKenzie returned to England to his golf club, wheedled his way out of the surgery business and into golf course design, and gradually became a well-regarded course guru because this was the early 20th century, and people simply weren't as big into checking pedigrees or prior experience as they are now.

    By 1915, MacKenzie was well-regarded enough as a course design theorist to pass as a publishable expert on the subject. Naturally, MacKenzie wrote one of the strangest misfit sports articles in American journalism history by penning "Military Entrenchments," a 1915 Golf Illustratedpiece that mostly talks a lot about how you, too, can learn to hide dangerous men with guns and knives in the ground around your town. There are notes about lines of sight, angles of trench entry, and trench construction. There is a boast that if you gave MacKenzie a force of armed civilians and proper preparation, they could defeat a force 10 times their size. There are diagrams, and two photos showing proper trench design.

    It mentions golf exactly once:

    "It may be asked what earthly connection is there between golf course construction and trench making? The connection consists in the imitation of nature. The whole secret of successful course construction and concealment in trench making consists in making artificial features indistinguishable from natural ones, and for the last ten years I have been daily attempting to imitate nature."

    MacKenzie met Jones sometime in 1927, agreed to design the course with him, and died two weeks before the first Masters tournament in 1934.

    TrenchWarfare2

    III. Seeing the mortar bunker at 18

    Since 1933 most of MacKenzie's features have been plowed, picked up, redone, or removed altogether. Yet the basic routing and shape remain, and even with the endless tweaks you'll walk Augusta and start to notice two things. The first is that the course tends to run counter-clockwise, bending left and around off the tee with a frequency suggesting it was designed for someone who drove high, and a bit to the left. Someone did: Bobby Jones, the club's founder and co-designer.

    The other undeniable feature is Augusta National's curvilinear camouflage. Doglegs turn longer holes into blind corners. Greens with innocent, flat-seeming surfaces turn out to be hilly and twisted in the exact shape of a melted vinyl 45 left in the backseat of a car too long. Sometimes the bunkers and water hazards hide behind small rises. Sometimes, as it is on the 15th hole, the fortifications are in plain sight, with the green being surrounded by a bunker and strategically placed baby-moats on either side. Even the trees turn into blinders and light baffles; Amen Corner, as hard as it may be already, only gets more difficult when the afternoon sun slants and paints shadow-stripes across already unreadable greens and approaches.

    Augusta National finishes at 18 with a brutal uphill slog through bunkers and hostile surroundings to the high ground. You see the green only because you've seen it before, and can picture it sitting up there, waiting flanked by bunkers and fans. And because you know the man who set the line of the course got his Ph.D. in course architecture in the middle of a guerrilla war, you also start seeing Boers in the bunkers and lines of fire everywhere.

    MacKenzieDiagram1

    IV. "... I have been daily attempting to imitate nature."

    There is nothing natural about The Masters, or Augusta National. This is a place that by demographic, birthplace, and upbringing I'm supposed to like, or respect, or at least recognize as being something. It's part of a tour of sports milestones around the South: football season, then the Masters, then the Derby, then back around to football, and then repeat. The people who attend this are the same people you see in the infield who you later see at the tailgate who you then see again chewing a pimento cheese sandwich and sipping a beer from a tower of stacked Masters cups. Even if you don't like golf -- and full disclosure, I generally don't -- this should be the transcendent event capable of inducing instant awe in even the casual bystander.

    Yet the overwhelming feeling for me walking around Augusta isn't one of soaking in a warm pool of tradition. It's the sensation of being screened, manipulated. It feels less like a place, and more like the precise construction of a "Southern" place, assembled meticulously by hyper-intelligent xenomorphs with infinite cash, resources, and will. It feels like it was built by the kind of people who got Alister MacKenzie to build trenches for them in wars over gold overseas, and then turn around and asked him to build their golf courses at home. It is a brilliant technological piece of ersatz nature, so elaborately wired that, in the event of civil unrest or an advancing sea, it can probably, at the bidding of some unseen green jacket's finger, levitate from its spot on Washington Road and find a new home elsewhere.

    It's an arcology for the wealthy set up for television cameras. The landlords will take the azaleas with them if they ever have to leave.

    It's a bubble, and that bubble surrounding Augusta is camouflage. That camouflage runs bone-deep to the root of the course's design and its membership. The South's totemic elitist golf club -- and all the attendant -isms that go with that -- was founded and funded primarily by New Yorkers. Clifford Roberts, the chairman who ushered the club to its lofty status and brought the tournament to television, was a self-invented stock broker from Iowa.* The live oak outside the clubhouse, where players enter the course and step to the first tee flanked by members and patrons, is trussed up by wires. Its shade is natural, but the height of its limbs is a bound gut waiting to be cut free from a horticultural girdle. Its full members list remains a mystery just like the numbers surrounding the club's finances.

    *Roberts considered the club his creation, so much so that he chose to end his life there. After getting a cancer diagnosis, he shot himself with a revolver at the age of 84 by a pond on the par three course at Augusta National.

    There is some reality at Augusta. The golf, even for being golf, is spectacular. The simplicity and traditions of the club aren't a total facade -- this is a place where you will be exiled forever for having the 21st century intrusion of a cellphone -- but then again, neither is the hive of computer screens and touchscreen analytics in the Masters.com room, where you can watch the words "TIGER WOODS" pulse with the clicking of a thousand social media mentions a second, or flick a touchscreen to see the hot spots where people are talking about the tournament. (The Southeastern United States appears as a series of bright overlapping yellow dinner plates.) The biggest imitation of all: Augusta sits in the buggiest part of the United States, and yet you won't find a squirrel anywhere on the grounds.

    Augusta National sits practically invisible for 51 weeks of the year; then, from an angle visible only one week a year, you can see the clubhouse at the end of Magnolia Lane where the richest people in America hide. Even then, that's only more camouflage rigged up for the observer. The richest of the rich, the hyper-wealthy, aren't at the clubhouse. They're at Berckmans, the VIP's VIP area behind the fifth hole. It has three restaurants, including MacKenzie's, a bar named after the club's co-designer and original camofleur. The one eyewitness account of the place says a green-jacketed Condi Rice greeted them at the door. They reportedly have 25 types of single-malt scotch there. You won't ever see one of them.


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    HE JUST LOOKED SO HAPPY

    So we went to the Masters this weekend (and after what we just wrote, probably won't be invited back as credentialed media.) It went about as well as you could imagine that going, but we did get to do the following things:

    • Drive a 707 hp car there and back
    • Drive that 707 hp car past the gates of Augusta National revving it and generally acting like a blessed idiot
    • Eat an egg salad sandwich
    • Catch a glimpse of Dan Jenkins in his natural element

    Most importantly, we saw Spurrier. He was standing at a green watching a tense putting scene, wearing a garnet and white striped golf shirt and a visor, and looking like he rolled straight out of the golf cart and into the car and onto the members' parking lot and onto the course.

    Honestly it was like catching a Snow Leopard in its native environment. The guy we were with joked about writing a "Hatin' Ass Spurrier" post on the spot. A stranger in front of us looked back, and looked over at Spurrier, and did the math and suddenly--well shit, suddenly he did the triangulation and realized at least one avatar of fictional Hatin' Ass Spurrier and real Spurrier were in the same place.

    And we could have gone over and said hi. Spurrier's super-approachable, and we've talked to him before, but this was different. He looked so happy and in his element, like a Snow Leopard dragging a mountain goat back to his den. Talking to him would have ruined the moment for him and me. There he was, in the Golf Vatican, and here we were, walking around in a place we did not feel to even an nth of a degree of feeling something. It would have felt totally and utterly wrong, like trying to as a person in the throes of tongue-speaking about information on their federal taxes.

    P.S. You probably shouldn't go to the Masters if you don't like golf.

    P.P.S. It's still a pretty good place to buy a hat for your dad, though.


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    GIVE BRIAN KELLY YOUR PLAYS IMMEDIATELY

    YOU CAN CALL A PLAY FOR NOTRE DAME. It only makes sense to let literally anyone call a play for the Fighting Irish, as Notre Dame has hired Charlie Weis, Ty Willingham, and Bob Davie to coach their football teams and paid them real American currency to do so. So maybe it's not really a compliment to you that they're soliciting your help here, so thanks for the subtle insult, you bastards. Here's a drawing of Everett Golson turning the ball over four times on a single play. It's already in your playbook, but a classic never goes out of style.

    (P.S. Did you see that Notre Dame beat LSU in a bowl game last year? They'll mention this, and they should, if only to remind you that Les Miles is capable of so much atrocity in the midst of inexplicable success, because jesus christ Les what the hell were you doing.)

    If we were to submit a play, this would be it, because it is the finest trick play we've seen in the last two decades. It's better than you deserve, yes, but you want a sincere answer, and we'll give you one: Fresno state's lineman-eligible and completely legal hook-and-ladder play.

    Let a big man show them hands, Notre Dame. Allow him to take those big taillights far over the horizon. Saddle up that bison and drift it into a parking space in front of the saloon like a WRX on a dirt track.


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    NO THAT PICTURE IS NOT OF THE ACTUAL HORSE BECAUSE HE WAS NOT INFLATABLE BUT NOW HE IS IN HEAVEN WITH ALL THE OTHER HORSES AND ANIMALS THAT HAD TO WATCH RUTGERS FOOTBALL IN THE 1990s

    PROPOSED: Lord Nelson, former Rutgers mascot and the only animal to ever receive an unsportsmanlike penalty call, lived a more productive life than the one you will have.

    PRO:

    Lived to the equivalent of 126 human years old; held the same job for 37 years, unlike you, you terrible disappointment to steady employment and your parents; pooped wherever he wanted without anyone complaining about it; never wore pants, ever. Earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for Rutgers in a game in 1994, making it one of the best influences on Rutgers football in the entire decade when it ran down the sidelines and told Army they could kiss his equine ass during pregame. Earned professor emeritus status; hung like a horse.

    CON:

    Could not read. Watched a LOT of bad Rutgers football. Never knew the ecstatic pleasure of taking socks off after a long day. Is dead.

    VERDICT: Yeah, he probably accomplished more than you did or will. RIP, horse buddy.


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    THIS IS A MESSAGE FROM COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S REAL POWERBROKER

    VandalizedSparty

    (image via r/cfb )

    SEE THE SIGNS. You might think this is a simple piece of vandalism, perpetrated by a Michigan fan against the Spartan statue on Michigan State's campus. That's what they want you to think at least. The Illuminati never give you a roadmap with direct exits, citizen. They hide behind blind turns and concealed driveways. They hide yellow and blue by turning them into green, man.

    Have you ever noticed that if you mixed Michigan's colors together, they make...green?

    See? The connections are so much deeper than you can see. But let's take it a step further. Who's really benefitting from this? It's a Spartan colored with maize and blue. It's a symbol of the people REALLY pulling the strings, a statement from the puppetmasters. It's a CODE and all you need to do to read it is CRACK IT. Who's trying to assert dominance here? Who, if you combine yellow and blue and the Spartan image, emerges? Who's really claiming their territory here, announcing their intent to dominate even the brand-loyal masses of the Big Ten?

    It should be clear now. We've taken the scales from your eyes. Open them and see the face of the true master.

    spartyscot

    The best trick the San Jose State Spartan was convincing you he never existed, man. His time is nigh, and the skies and sunrise herald his coming. The Yellow and Blue King. THE YELLOW AND BLUE KING.


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  • 04/17/15--11:52: How to train your Hellcat
  • Spencer Hall drove a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat around for a week. You can try to train this car, but it's still going to be a beast.

    How did you get a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat?

    I was afraid I would be bored at the Masters so I called Dodge and asked them to drop off a car at my house: a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, the most powerful American production car ever made. You might think this would be a process more complex than a few phone calls, but it was not. This was most of the conversation.

    Dodge: So, what will this be?

    Me: I'm going to drive this car to the Masters and back, and write about it. I'm not sure how you go about it, but what I would like to do, if you can talk about it, and the insurance checks out, and you somehow end up dropping off a car at my house, is take the car, and write about how it's--

    Dodge: Does April 3rd work for you? We'll drop it off at your house.

    Yes, yes. That worked for me.

    I heard it before I saw it: a guttural, butt-rocking sound not unlike what you'd hear if you could sleep inside a cat's purring larynx. It was nuke green with black highlights and sitting in my driveway and once the man from the fleet had left, I sat there with the red key in my hand staring at it. It stared back. I swear it did.

    Why this car?

    Because the lead engineer used the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" in describing it to me. Because it has 707 horsepower and yet doesn't require clearance from a control tower to operate in public spaces. Because it looks like the old classic Challenger if you fed it anime ponies and nandralone and locked it in a gym for a year with Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson.

    There is more. Because the first man in Colorado who bought one destroyed it less than a mile out of the dealership. Because the car had been described with every synonym of "fearful" and "pants-shittingly fast" by professionals with way more experience redlining fast automobiles than I had. Because when you start it, a glowing red demon cat head flashes on the touchscreen. Because Dodge says it goes zero to 60 in three seconds and change with a max speed of 204 mph. Because most people have agreed that numbers can't really cover the insanity of its power.

    Because they said I could have it? Because they said I could have it.

    So did it bite?

    No. But it could have: Hit the accelerator and get more than 30 percent into the throttle and the fight-or-flight reflex kicks in and begins shutting down frontal lobe performance immediately. Other reviews have mentioned how the Hellcat's supercharged V8 can't find enough runway on most public roads to properly hit its afterburners. This is true, but you can slide the car's significant ass completely sideways on my street. My street is a residential road about 1/16th of a mile long. 650 pound-feet of torque doesn't really care about how long your street is, or whether the Hellcat is sliding sideways towards a pack of zombies or a basket of puppies. Either way you do it, you're giggling maniacally the whole time.

    Basically I'm getting to the thing Jeremy Clarkson said about Porsche, which is that it does not tolerate fools. This car is sort of like that, but it also wants to be friends -- the kind of friends who sometimes throw bottles at each other's heads and randomly slaps you just to make sure you're paying enough attention to them.

    You can drive it at a reasonable bit of speed, and it handles like a big, comfortable sedan with reasonable-to-good ride if you keep it below the speed limit. The seats are plush, the various gear you get for your money is slick and engaging enough. Look, Dodge made you a space shuttle with a family-friendly interior! It'll still rip through the sound barrier three seconds after liftoff, and the nice fabric of those seats will muffle the screams of your Mars-bound passengers.

    That sounds paradoxical.

    Pretty much everything about the Hellcat is. For instance: the Hellcat is a performance car that can't really hit corners with confidence. Neither could a Saturn V rocket, but still. Its handling is pretty good for a car loaded with a nuclear reactor's worth of power up front, but if you're a performance technician hoping to get a WRX with a muscle car engine, well you probably don't understand physics, economics or several other disciplines at the same time.

    I took this car on the curvy surface roads of Augusta. Every time I hammered the throttle (again: tapping your toe to get maybe 20 percent of the engine's capacity) it just wanted to barrel through the trees, possibly a living room or two, and come out unscathed and not even panting on the other side of the bend. This car is a locomotive without a track. Treat it accordingly.

    Hellcat

    But that's still fun, yes?

    At local speeds driven by normal humans it is not the exact definition of "fun." It's not un-fun, but it's certainly doesn't feel natural to drive this car at anything less than 70 mph, anywhere. One time at the dog park some dude brought his Presa Canario. A Presa is a giant pitbull, basically: thick necked, iron-jawed, rippling with muscle. Being an idiot, I went to pet it. It didn't eat me, but it started growling when I stopped. That's how you end up petting a giant war dog for fifteen minutes while its owner says, "No, the growling is a good thing. Don't stop. He won't like that."

    That dog is the Hellcat. You are the idiot petting it when you drive it at a speed below Mach 1.

    Okay but what about when you can take it above 70 mph?

    It is a ripped muscle god touring its domain wearing a zebra print speedo and giant novelty sunglasses.

    After a week of slamming the Hellcat around my neighborhood and accidentally hitting freakish speeds attempting simple passes on Atlanta interstates, I drove to Augusta for the Masters. Putting the Hellcat on open, untrafficked road was a revelation. Its character completely reversed. The Hellcat was made to carve long lines -- like, NASA-long lines, the kind you take when you use New Zealand as a left turn signal for a quick flyover of Hawaii on your way to a landing in Alaska. Put on "King Shit" by Yo Gotti and T.I., hit the supercharger and get an earful of satanic whine/roar, and -- ohhhh! -- we're having a moment. We are definitely having a moment in this car when all of that is working together.

    About that noise--

    Oh, yeah. There's another contradiction: you won't be able to hear the really cool song you picked just for this mind-melting convergence of beat and horsepower and empty road without cops.

    The car has a stereo and I'm not sure why because you can't hear shit when the engine's on. The lead engineer for Hellcat said the design team wanted the entire neighborhood to know when you were starting the car, but did not want to violate noise ordinances. The engine is loud, just a pugnaciously, assripping kind of loudness on a ludicrous scale. It sounds so good and so composed you don't mind, especially because the engine is its own herald. It cranks at start for just a little bit longer than it should; the effect is one of waking up a sleeping demon that really wanted to nap for a while longer, and wants to yell at you for it.

    That sound helps in one respect. People don't just stop to look at this car: left-lane malingerers fly out of the way on the sound alone, and bail for slower territory like you're a state trooper. The H&K stereo might be good? Honestly, we don't know. You could turn it up almost all the way and still lose to the Hellcat's engine noise, which is the car's real sound system, anyway.

    People look at you?

    People will film you. Four dudes in an Infiniti in downtown ATL filmed me popping the accelerator and leapfrogging five car lengths at a time. They asked me to do this twice. Other drivers took photos. One Challenger driver pulled up alongside the Hellcat, rolled the window down, and tipped his cap. Three cars wanted to race. I formed a Vin Diesel/Paul Walker type relationship with a BMW on I-20 between Atlanta and Augusta when the posted speed limits felt like insults to both of our cars. I love this man and he loves me. We could have driven to the sun. The Hellcat would have gotten there first.

    How was your mileage?

    LOLLLLLLLLL.

    Hellcat

    Is it a manageable car?

    Back to that paradoxical thing about the Hellcat. It could be a manageable car. You could button this werewolf up and take it to the office and make it wear a suit and file forms and do spreadsheets. It could do that. It might eat a co-worker in the break room once, or chew the armrests off an Aeron chair out of frustration. But it could do that.

    It would hate it, too. Driving seems like the wrong word when you operate the Hellcat. The steering is a bit touchless, but that doesn't matter because again, this isn't driving. You suggest what this car does: it kind of decides the rest.

    it's a huge rocket hell-sled for delivering the devil's dark groceries.

    There isn't a public road in the United States where you can hit what this car is capable of in a straight line. It feels like an anime telepath not quite in control of their city-obliterating powers. It has a back-up camera and is fully compliant with all federally-mandated safety regulations, and yet could do respectable lap times at Talladega in its as-sold format. Words can't describe how savage this car feels under throttle, but they can tell you what it looks like when it's pretending to be a semi-normal vehicle.

    That doesn't sound manageable.

    It shouldn't. This car cannot be handled casually. It just can't: it's a huge rocket hell-sled for delivering the devil's dark groceries. I mean it: this car could end you if you were to forget precisely what it was capable of at speed.

    Then why--

    BECAUSE IT IS PERFECT AND BREATHTAKING AND AAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

    I don't want anything to change about this car. It does not belong to the world of the rational. Brilliant people with advanced degrees and years of experience were drafted to build something of borderline delusional power. It has supercar power for Corvette pricing, starting at $59,000 for the base model, and only going up to $65K fully loaded. It's like Dodge figured out how to make Tsar Bomba out of things you can buy at Lowe's. It is not rational how cheap this car is for what you get.

    It's also not rational for me to recommend or not recommend it. Any desire for the Hellcat will be, by definition, irrational. I put a car seat in the back and took my kid to school and laughed for five minutes straight because a dragon does not commute. No one needs this car for any utility. The Great Hunger is not upon us, and you do not need to Mad Max it out of your city just yet. (And if you did: 15 mpg doesn't put you very far into the safety of the Wastes, as badass as you might look while doing it.)

    It is a beast. No amount of shaving can hide the hair on its knuckles, and the idea of you "picking" one seems insane to someone who's driven one. The Hellcat probably just shows up at your house one day and demands food and love, and you have no choice but to feed it.

    To hell with utility, though. Once I got out of town, I did find a clean stretch of I-20. I hit the engine from a good gallop and expected the same head-snapping, Apollo launch thrust. It arrived, but what replaced it after the initial launch was spellbinding.

    Over a certain speed on the highway, the car switches from fission to fusion, and you start making your own calm bubble in what feels like boundless velocity. Some cars shake, and other cars constantly feel like they're sawing away at the fabric of time. In its element, the Hellcat runs like it's in a perpetual state of re-entry into the atmosphere. It just burns.

    Verge Video:A tour of the New York International Auto Show


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    IT'S TIME TO GIVE IN THE NAME OF HUMILIATING YOUR RIVAL. AGAIN.

    GOOD MORNING. It's that time of year, where we justify our existence as a useless-by-design college football site by raising money for a good cause. Who's that photo at the top of the post? Dat Nguyen, legendary Texas A&M linebacker, born in a refugee center in Fort Smith, Arkansas to Vietnamese refugee parents. He's part of a theme here, so let's go.

    WHAT IS THAT CAUSE?

    So glad you asked, invisible narrator.  New American Pathways is a refugee resettlement agency in the Clarkston, GA area devoted to welcoming refugees to America, setting them up with the basics of American life, and helping them succeed in their new home. They recently rebranded from their former name, RRISA, which you may remember from previous EDSBS Charity Bowls. Same people; different name.

    WHY THEM?

    A lot of reasons, actually. First, we used to work in that community as a youth education program coordinator. Second, they're a fantastic organization working with a population that really needs the help. Third, because it pays off in the form of new Americans who buy in harder to the American dream than you could have ever dreamed possible.

    OKAY THIS SOUNDS FINE. HOW DO I GIVE?

    Give here. The site is simple and easy to use, and allows you to list your school when you donate. We tally the schools, publish the results daily, and then praise and embarrass schools as we go in order to goad you into giving more than your rival. Most people give in the form of scores of particularly great victories over your rival. For instance, Florida could look at their recent history and give...well, you could just give $59.20 in honor of Oregon, since we haven't done anything since 2012, and even then stupid Will Muschamp low-total football doesn't yield great donations.

    Just give $59.20, Florida fans. Everyone else, get creative.

    HOW DOES THIS USUALLY GO?

    Well, Michigan won last year, and the year before that, and dangit they've won this a lot. But look at it this way: for years Michigan suffered, and yet still donated to the EDSBS Charity Bowl. Then, out of nowhere, they managed to hire the coach they wanted, Jim Harbaugh. BOOM. Charity redeemed.

    YOU CAN'T PROVE THAT EDSBS CHARITY BOWL WINS ADDED UP TO A KARMIC DOWN PAYMENT ON JIM HARBAUGH.

    No, but you can't disprove it either, can you?

    YOU GOT ME. HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO GIVE?

    We're running it the whole week, April 20th to Sunday, April 26th. On Monday we'll declare a winner.

    OKAY WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?

    We will outfit the site in the colors of the school. We will devote an entire Hatin' Ass Spurrier to ripping on the rivals of the winner. We have random celebrity guest calls to big donors. For instance, last year we might have had a Heisman Trophy winner call a particularly generous donor. That might could be you! You'll never know until you give, and then give again, and then wisely take out a second mortgage all in the name of getting a sports parody site's highest honor. (Oh, and you'll be giving to a great, great charity, too.)

    ANYTHING ELSE?

    If we get $30K this year, we'll get your mascot tattooed on our body. No, for real this time. We'll do it. Please win again, Michigan, because a wolverine could be a badass tattoo, while anything else is a crapshoot. (Oh god, Notre Dame. Please don't. PLEASE. You didn't see this.)

    SOUNDS GREAT. CAN YOU GIVE US THAT LINK AGAIN?

    Right here. Here. HEEEEERRRREEEEE.


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