No matter what happens tomorrow, Karl Dorrell will be fired.
And USC will win.
No matter what happens tomorrow, Karl Dorrell will be fired.
And USC will win.
The story is carried by the Times and, more ominously, by the USC athletics’ site. USC has been at the Coliseum for 80 years and has renewed its lease on, from what I understand, a year-by-year basis. The Coliseum Commission has offered a 2-year lease. USC wants “improvements such as bathroom and concession upgrades, new seats, new gates, new lights, and a new sound and video system” for the Gray Old Lady, which, after the long and thus far futile courtship of the NFL, is basically a request to at least partially run and improve the facility because, again, the Coliseum was hoping a pro team would swoop in and excrete gold plated shitters everywhere. That’s the breakdown of it in simple human gold plated shitter terms.
But it’s that running the facility part that’s getting the Coliseum Commission to be total jackassed buffoons about everything – even if USC…
…has offered to fund a minimum of $100 million over 10 years toward the repair and restoration of the Coliseum.
As part of that deal, the school would be in charge of running the venue.
The above quote makes it seem as if the university would be the sole manager which doesn’t seem to be the case to me. Either way it looks like the two parties are at an “impasse” right now, though I don’t know how realistic it would be for the Coliseum to give up its longest running, most faithful and highest profile tenant.
But, hey, at least they’re voicing their complaints about USC.
“As far as we’re concerned, they asked us for two years and the commission gave it to them,” said Pat Lynch, the Coliseum’s general manager. “If they asked us for five years, we’d give them five. If they asked us for 10, we’d give them 10. We can’t read their minds.”
Really, Pat? Really? That’s the problem? Because USC has gone above and beyond the call of duty by physically projecting, with mouths and pens and paper and voice boxes and stuff, what’s on its mind.
“Although we have been a faithful tenant of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for 80 years, we must now seek other alternatives for the good of our football program and our fans,” said Todd R. Dickey, USC’s senior vice president for administration. “The Coliseum has not benefited from substantive physical upgrades or preventive maintenance for more than 10 years because the commission has focused on attracting an NFL team that would renovate the stadium.”
Yeah the bathrooms could be improved. I suppose it’d be nice if the JumboTron was actually in sync with the audio, but that’s me. That whole Trojan Nation thing beneath the torch is pretty stupid, sure. But considering how old it is and how long it’s gone without “substantive physical upgrades” I think the Coliseum is fine as it is – it’s got chair backs and it’s not Cal’s Memorial Stadium, so I think those are two things that don’t need changing. And beer. We must have beer again.
The 2008 and 2009 future schedules of USC and UCLA each have one date when the teams would play a home game on the same day, but that logistical problem is just a small reason why I can’t see this “impasse” resulting in USC leaving to play in the Rose Bowl – and USC is actually closer to the Rose Bowl than UCLA, but obviously a stadium right off campus is just a bit closer than that. If it does happen, though, I seriously doubt the fickle Los Angeles fan bases will manage to sellout the Granddaddy even with the Trojans playing games there. USC can’t even fill the Coliseum to capacity when it’s No. 1. Can anyone imagine a USC-Oregon State game at the Rose Bowl? 75,000 would be optimistic. Ugh, what a nightmare.
Don’t even get me started on trying to get out of the golf course parking lots.
After 90 consecutive days of travel I am, at last, typing this from Temple City, California. There’s one more regular season game left, and then the bowls. I suppose now’s a good time to mention that I’m going to some bowl games. I figure I can stick to California and see at least three, but I won’t mention which three because JINX.
After that comes the whole writing a book thing, which many people have asked about. I hedged, mainly, when I wasn’t avoiding the subject or circumnavigating the question or shouting “OHMYGOD Joe Paterno!” and then running away – but there ought to be a book, unless I can competently fake my death. I should probably fake my death anyway and drive up interest.
The many people who wanted to know about the book also asked about a possible title. Title? I haven’t even written a single word yet. Title. C’mon.
Well, here it is: Moby-Dick.
There’s no way I can come up with a worse post title.
At the end of today I hope to be eating from one of those mutant birds you only ever see at a Lions’ Thanksgiving Day game: a Frankenfood monstrosity sporting six legs and the gleaming brown formica carapace of turkey skin baked to crispy recondite invulnerability, and somewhere in the background Matt Millen is crying. Because only winners get to eat from the Six Legged Beast of Famine and Doom and Thanks, and Matt Millen is no winner.
Victory, in other words. I want it with a side of gravy.
Even if victory doesn’t come, though, I have to be pretty grateful I’m even in Tempe to watch USC take on Arizona State and its gang of mercenaries, of which there is only one member and he is named Dennis Erickson. I could still be in Brazos County, or decomposing in a swamp in Louisiana, or frozen to a flagpole in Kalamazoo, or chalking up the buildings of Morgantown with the fine white residue of my ashes. Instead I am here in Arizona celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and the usual complement of contentedly sedate looking USC fans.
Thank you to everyone who has: sheltered me, fed me, got me drunk, given me directions, helped me financially, provided a ticket, waved an angry fist in my defense, told others that “he’s cool, don’t punch him”, introduced me to a female acquaintance, shown me around town, driven me anywhere, picked me up from a number of places, asked about the condition of my car and my psyche, offered life and/or college football advice, striven to dispel local stereotypes, fully confirmed local stereotypes, let me play my first game of Halo 3, waved me off with only a warning to not speed in the state of Kansas or Ohio, pointed me towards the best watering hole in the county, not arrested me and thrown me into County, been, generally speaking, a decent human being unaffected by the miasma and cynicism of life in 2007 America and thus willing to take a chance on a strange guy from California who just wants to know if there’s anything to do in town on a Tuesday night besides go to the library, and, hey, why don’t you just crash at my place? Just don’t kill me or steal my XBox 360.
Which is a request I got quite often. So, hey!: I didn’t kill you or steal your XBox 360, and you didn’t harvest my organs.
Many thanks to Sunday Morning Quarterback of Sunday Morning Quarterback, who showed me around downtown Austin and got me drunk and let me sleep on his couch and, generally, acted as a universal solvent to the intractable problem of, “Hey, idiot. You just got arrested in Texas. What the fuck are you still doing in Texas now that you’re out?”
SMQ was much quieter than I expected. The key to that sentence, however, is the word was. SMQ got quiet vocal once alcohol was introduced into the equation. SMQ eventually got around to waxing poetic on the Falstaffian-level of comedy represented by Cincinnati and South Florida eclipsing Southern Miss, the categorical imperative that Kant really meant to talk about which is “Drink the beer before you, and do not complain”, the vagaries of ESPN’s Greatest 25 College Football Players of All Time (Ali: “Of all time!”), the bland meh-ness of Kirk Herbstreit and the awesome “Wow, he really wants to hit someone”-ness of Chris Spielman, Stewart Mandel and Dennis Dodd’s punchability, sushi and its almost diametrical opposite the Chick-fil-A sandwich (but the fried sandwiches, none of that grilled shit), blogging, journalism, beards, women, television, movies, the geopolitics of Mississippi, good, evil, and the truly awesome Spectacle of Bruins Nation and its ilk, which, though he never verbally agreed, is exactly like watching a wounded carnivore devour its own young: which is to say horrific, but entertainingly horrific, and the question afterwards still remains, “So. Now what?”
SMQ also described his blog as somewhat disappointing to himself, noting that he didn’t really do any film analysis – he described it as “essential” to any good football blog, which rules out pretty much everyone except Brian – and that his stuff was based almost entirely on stats. True. But to say that sundaymorningqb.com is just a bunch of stats is like saying War and Peace is just a bunch of names. Whoa! Whoawhoawhoa, I know. Jimmy Carter, before his 1976 miracle run to the presidency, gave a speech at Georgia’s school of law in which he talked about reading Tolstoy’s novel as a young man and its impact on him, and he said that War and Peace isn’t really about Napoleon or the generals of either army or the Tsar of Russia… it’s about the peasants and the students and the soldiers and the farmers and the women, about the grand tide of humanity whose collective will was made manifest through the actions of the individual, but, like, lots of them. And much more important than guys with medals and big fuck off hats. Except Carter said it a lot better, and without using the word fuck. So, basically: It isn’t simply big quotes about history and momentum and destiny and gap blocking… it’s the numbers, man, from one to 120, which is the number of teams SMQ foolishly set out to preview this season and will probably foolishly set out to preview next season, and, shit, when does Western Kentucky become official? Only peanut farmers and guys like SMQ would be able to tell you that, and I saw WKU play.
I’m not sure how to tie all that together now, except to say that if ever there was a guy I wanted coordinating the analysis of the aftermath of the defense of Napoleonic Russia, it’s SMQ.
So thanks again man.
The Texas A&M Aggies are famous for many things: Friday night yell practice, the yell fish, kissing your girl after a score, kissing someone else’s girl after a score, Dat Nguyen, remarkably high ranking collies, so forth. A&M’s most famous aspect might be the idea of the 12th Man: an entire stadium standing at attention, just in case someone’s injured and a student (or reasonably non-flabby being) is called upon to descend from the stands, shed his work-a-day garb and don the maroon and white uniform of an Aggie to shuffle around on the field and not get in the game which is, basically, how the tradition started. It’s noble in ideal and, because the original 12th man E. King Gill never got to actually play, certainly noble in practice. This is Division I-A college football (!!!), and it’s scary enough letting walk-ons miss tackles against Allen Patrick. Still: 12th Man. It’s pretty cool.
There is a 13th Man at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field. That Man is named the University Police Department. I was arrested by the 13th Man sometime around 12:30 a.m. on the morning (or night) of Monday, November 19th, for hopping a fence and walking into the stadium and taking pictures and, generally, being the incaculably foolish fan that I am. But I did get some pictures, one of which was taken by the security guard who called in the four police cars that eventually showed up. He was a decent human being who took pity on a poor schmuck about to be hauled off into the awful waiting game of Dial-a-Bondsman.
So now I’ve got a charge of criminal trespass, a Class B Misdemeanor. I also spent 12 hours in the Brazos County Jail. My arresting officer – a reasonably decent Panamanian named Dalton – answered my question, posed from the back of a squad car because I was after all arrested, concerning the relative excitement of the morning shift at Texas A&M University by saying, very prophetically: “Well, you get your typical student dumb shits. Drunk, partying, dope [author's note: I haven't heard the term "dope" outside of interviews with guys like H.S.T. and Muhammad Ali and Lyndon Baines Johnson], that kind of thing. Then you have [the town of] Bryan, which isn’t too nice.”
Me: “Lots of crime?”
Dalton: “Oh, yeah. You know those lists they put together at newspapers or U.S. World News and Report or whatever?”
Me: “Yeah, you mean like ‘Nation’s Safest City’?”
Dalton: “Yeah. Except Brazos County ain’t on that list.”
My holding cell mates when I left were: a chunky white man about 34 years old with an $11,000 bail – accrued, anecdotally, through things like fraud and other less glamorously violent charges – and no hope of posting after being there since Saturday and who was well versed at using a roll of toilet paper for a pillow and his jacket as a blanket/night-simulator; a mid-twenties black man transferring from Sandy Creek prison named Chris, who’s served 3-and-a-half years on an 16 year term for aggravated assault which, as he explained to me, “ain’t no small shit. You don’t even sniff parole until year eight man, ya dig me? Thass why I’m here paying it off, man, you got-ta pay it off else you’ll be in this motherfucker forever,” with “paying it off” a catch-all phrase for coming to terms with whatever shit you’ve got yourself in, a kind of karmic koan to help concentrate the necessarily fickle idiot winds of human consciousness into a relatively efficient force capable of dealing with court appointed lawyers and the ugly realities of the Brazos County Jail baloney sandwiches, and let me emphasize that Chris, with his rolling bass thunder of a voice and his impossible to understand pitch-oscillation, was a helluva pro bono adviser because he gave me an absolutely sterling mental tour of the surrounding incarceration industries; a Guatamalan man picked up for hitting another car and being Guatamalan, which is to say illegal immigrant – a fact confirmed for us by the Gautamalan whose only English words seemed to be “free?” while pointing at the collect call phone, “taxi driver” in explanation of his (illegal) occupation, and “deportation” in reference to his fate. The Gautamalan slept like a baby most of the time, a man deeply in touch with his destiny and completely serene with whatever was going to happen to him in the terribly strange country we call America.
I was bailed out by a Mr. David Hargrave, whom I’ve never met. David is the brother of Daniel Hargrave, a family friend for many years, a staunch Texan and one of the best human beings I’ve ever eaten In ‘n Out with (there are literally thousands of human beings I’ve eaten In ‘n Out with, and Daniel is in the .001 percentile which, due to my math skills, might actually make him into a fractional person but whatever). The loose network of support I call my Mobile Ozone Layer began to branch out into the dark corners of the bail bond universe and, from all the way by LAX in Los Angeles, a spark was set forth that would eventually become the all-mighty raging inferno of a miracle personified by David when he drove, from Houston on the way to Fort Worth, to pick my ass up from County.
Also: my mom rocks.
So I now have a $1015 bail bond fee and a $143 towing charge to add to the growing list of horrors I call a budget.
Am I bitter? Certainly. But I am also realisitc. Every officer of the peace I met told me, “Yeah, it sucks, but it’s our job. If you had done this any other time besides the Texas game you probably would’ve been fine.” This last part rotated in with things like “before 9/11″ and “the whole Bush library thing”.
So it appears that once again the unholy trinity of the Texas Longhorns, George Herbert Walker Bush and Osama bin Laden have conspired to make my life painfully, painfully interesting.
Finally: 5’8″?!? That’s bullshit. I’m 5’9″. That’s just egregious misrepresentation of the facts. I demand a lawyer.
Chauncey Washington’s 220 yards were a career best, but no one ought to be surprised. I had Chauncey penciled in for greatness because, as we all know, former CIF Southern Section Division X players who make it to DI-A are the shit.
(Actually, I can really only think of three off the top of my head: Chauncey, Desmond Reed and Napoleon Kaufman. But they are all of them the shit.)
(Also, I have to hand it to Cal. Their throwback jerseys were thoroughly whatever in terms of asthetic appeal, but they triumphed over Washington’s throwbacks in one very important aspect: if you’re going to put on throwback jerseys, it’s important to don clothing that makes you look more like LSU and less like Notre Dame.)
The game ball must obviously go to Chauncey, but I finally got to watch USC play and I was completely unsurprised to see SS Kevin Ellison completely dominate the field. He missed two tackles but one of those was due to him trying to pop the ball out and another happened because Cal’s Justin Forsett ran like a greased up, incontinent Thor on his way to Asgard’s bathroom. (This imagery is not mine: it’s Neil Gaiman’s. That English bastard has a lotta nerve writing things before me.)
I do have to admit that, as I was sitting at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Knoxville full of nervous hatred, I jumped up and screamed “FUCK YOU” at Cal QB Nate Longshore after he got picked off by Terrell Thomas. I didn’t really mean it, Nate. It’s just that Desean Jackson got so little TV time I had to scream at somebody.
Jackson, who had two catches for 41 yards and two punt returns for zero yards against USC in 2006, had five catches for 64 yards and one punt return for zero yards in Strawberry Canyon on Saturday night. The above picture shows Thomas tackling Jackson on a punt return and also sums up Jackson’s contribution to the game.
Jackson looks like a cross between a gazelle and Edwin Moses, the eternal 400-meter hurdle champion who won 107 consecutive finals from ’77 to ’87, and in actual meatspace this bestiality analogy does Jackson no justice: #1 will out run anything with less than three legs and pat himself on the back while on the podium, but the gazelle and Edwin Moses were creatures of action and very rarely fonts of bombast and ego. Gazelles – when not hampered by the lack of a voicebox and higher thought - usually offered helpful, non-self centered advice only in African myths and folklore, and Moses - when not burning a hole in someone’s face with his I-may-very-well-want-to-kill-you-at-the-end-of-this-race stare - spoke of the self only in terms of winning: “I have the killer instinct,” Moses said. “It’s ego. When I’m on the track, I want to beat everyone.” I suppose if ESPN had been around during Moses’ streak he might very well have, when confronted by a couple dozen mics after every win, spouted off something ridiculous. He didn’t, though. He just ran and won. Gazelles don’t get asked for quotes much, either, but I’m pretty sure they just run and eat grass.
Desean Jackson called out Terrell Thomas in ESPN The Magazine’s college football preview, saying that Thomas needed the help of triple coverage and, by logic, shouldn’t have been talking trash.
Asked about the Thomas incident, Jackson told writer Bruce Feldman, “That dude was just talkin’ to be talkin’. If Pete Carroll told his 10 other players to focus on everything else and it was just me and Terrell Thomas, oh man, I’d expose that dude. But being the best player, you gotta deal with that stuff. It just makes you better.” Apprised of Jackson’s comments on Wednesday, Thomas said, “He had two catches and we won — that’s all I care about. He can take it as an individual matchup. I enjoy the competition, but we play a team game. . . . It wasn’t just me. It was the whole defense.” Jackson also said he would rather defeat the Trojans than win the Heisman. “Honestly I don’t need to win it if we beat SC,” he said. [Can't find working link to LA Times article.]
I think it’s pretty obvious who got the better of whom here, so I won’t bother pointing that out. I will say that you should never, ever talk about winning Heismans and beating your rival and which one you’d rather do. Cedric Benson once said he’d rather win the Heisman than beat Oklahoma, perhaps not realizing that to do the one he had to do the other. Jackson is a fine player and will more than likely make someone else’s pants soggy with fear-urine when he opts to leave for the NFL, and I am grateful for it because I really only have one pair of jeans. I am also grateful because one of my favorite athletes of all time is Muhammad Ali, who perhaps invented but nonetheless perfected the art of trash talking and who dominated his sport for fifteen years. Trash talking is a wondrous thing, but only if you win. Those who jaw to the extent that Jackson has should be lifted up on high when they follow through and laughed at when they lose. I am now laughing at Desean Jackson, and rightly so. If you respect yourself, college football and the theory of trash talk, you should join in.
Now bring on the Holiday Bowl!
Me and the Hulkster, Southern Miss vs. UCF.
Western Michigan and Central Michigan combined for 17 points through 45:05 of play. In the last 14:55 the two MAC West rivals combined for 48 points, 24 of them in the final four minutes of regulation. The Broncos looked dominating in the first few series. Then the game got boring. Then Central went ahead and looked like it would never relinquish the lead. Then Western scored two straight touchdowns within 33 seconds of each other. Then All-MAC sophomore QB Dan LaFevour (“FEVER!”) threw a 39 yard pass to Bryan Anderson and suddenly, with the game on the line, the Chippewas were on the 1-yard line with less than a minute to go. It took them three tries, one review and a possible fumble to get the touchdown.
And it was snowing. To a Californian this was like playing golf on the moon.
I’m not sure what I expected out of CMU-WMU. Certainly not what I found: a massive apartment complex house party that would’ve done UCSB proud, a student body that prides itself on being “Wastern Michigan”, the best looking girls I’d seen since I left the South behind, an unbelievable game that ended on…
… because I have to mention it…
… a 38 yard scramble with 12 seconds left to play, as the Broncos lateraled the kickoff at least five times before the ball went out of bounds somewhere near the CMU 35-yard line. The recap doesn’t even fucking mention this, which goes to prove my theorem once again: it is always worth going to a college football game, because relying on ESPN or the AP to be your eyes and ears is inadvisable. How could they ever describe snowflakes swirling through a two-minute drill? Or the absolute dead silence following a ref’s announcement that the ruling on the field would stand, and Western would lose? Or the giddy sugar high of The Play gone wrong, or at least short? They can’t, which is why you ought to stop lying to yourself about enjoying the game more at home.
I have to admit it: I did not expect a good game, or even a close one. I thought CMU would handle Western. I also thought I was going to go to 14 games this season. I’m on track for 25 games. I’ve visited 23 stadiums already. I’ve been to 27 states and the District of Columbia so far. The 10,000 miles I alloted myself way back when I first dreamt up this idea came and went somewhere near Bowling Green, Ohio – which is where I was attracted to a stadium lit up at night. Turns out the BGSU Falcons were practicing. I got to watch them run gassers, fight amongst themselves (literally), drill, and scrimmage, and all because my automatic reaction whenever I see stadium lights is to now wonder if I can get in somehow.
Another thing I’ve learned: don’t take acid in New Orleans and then drive to Baton Rouge that same night.
All in all, these past 70 days have been, as mentioned above, remarkable.
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – After four days of martial law and nearly eight years under former President Pervez Musharraf, the Republic of Pakistan was restored to order by LSU (8-1, 5-1 SEC West) head coach Les Miles, who parachuted into the Muslim country in a daring pre-dawn raid.
“People of Pakistan, you are free!” Miles shouted from the highest step of the Pakistani House of Parliament.
They were the first six words the enigmatic coach had spoken since agreeing to liberate the embattled country at the request of U.S. President George W. Bush and the United Nations Security Council just 32 hours before.
“He’s a man of few words,” said Bush. “In that respects, he’s a lot like me. We’re both doers, not speakers. And he did.”
Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Nov. 3, placing Pakistani Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry under house arrest and demanding that the rest of the justices swear an oath of allegiance to him. This was followed by an announcement that the general elections scheduled for January would be postponed indefinitely. Musharraf then said that the elections would only be “delayed”.
The former President and Army Chief of Staff was supposed to relinquish power this year, which may have prompted him to plunge his country into the chaos of martial law.
“It was an outrage. Pakistan was one of the better examples of how democracy and Islam could work in the same country, and Musharraf tore their laws to shreds and made a mockery of the stability of secular rule,” said Mississippi head coach Ed Orgeron.
“He even compared himself to Abraham Lincoln: ‘Lincoln suspended habeus corpus, Lincoln did what he had to do to save the Union and America, etc.’ I have studied Lincoln for nearly twenty years, sir, and you are no Abraham Lincoln.”
Continued Orgeron: “Now Les Miles. You could make an argument about that. Both Lincoln and Miles like big hats perched high on their head, so there is a precedent.”
Eyewitnesses report that Miles parachuted directly onto Musharraf’s motorcade as it left the former President’s residence. The one time Michigan offensive lineman appeared to be holding a hand grenade “in his mouth” said taxi driver Mehmood Khan, who watched from a boarded up residence in the heart of the Pakistani capital.
“[Miles] landed on the President’s car and shattered the driver’s window with his bare hand. Then he dropped the grenade in and leapt off the car, which was on a bridge above the Soan River. I don’t know how the American survived,” said Khan.
Reports of explosions, lightning quick attacks and Pakistani soldiers found tied up in trip wire began flooding in from all over the capital shortly after Musharraf’s body was found. The leaderless army was quickly brought to heel by numerous notes written in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, and apparently left by Miles.
One such note was translated as saying, “Do you really wanna know what I’ll do if I’m pissed off?”
The Pakistani army stationed in Islamabad deposited its guns and ammunition in front of the empty Supreme Court at 2:30 p.m., and soon after that soldiers stationed throughout the various provinces of Pakistan followed suit and disarmed themselves.
“Simply remarkable. I haven’t seen such audacity since the Auburn game. Or maybe the Florida game,” said CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
“I believe Tennyson once wrote that the truly heroic, despite their frailties, were meant ‘to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’ He might well have added that a huge pair of balls is also a necessary component to a mighty constitution,” she added.
Many Tiger fans were unsurprised that Miles would agree to such a daring operation, noting that the third year coach was known as something of a gambler. The victory seemed somewhat bittersweet for some, though, as they were left wondering what would happen next.
Asked current LSU political science sophomore Lydia Bauteaux: “Democracy, elections, that’s all great stuff for Pakistan and whatever. But is he gonna leave us to coach Michigan?”