No, not the cardinal and gold kind. I’m talking the ’08 kind.
I’m liking Ron Paul more and more, true, but man: think of the speech possibilities! My write-in vote is now decided.
No, not the cardinal and gold kind. I’m talking the ’08 kind.
I’m liking Ron Paul more and more, true, but man: think of the speech possibilities! My write-in vote is now decided.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“Brutality and foul play should receive the same summary punishment given to a man who cheats at cards.” -Theodore Roosevelt, on the state of American football in 1905 when almost twenty fatalities brought the game to the nation’s attention.
“Rap music is the sound that ushers in the decade.” -Entry for the year 1990.
“The potential power of the game may be greater than the experience would suppose.” -Archibald MacLeish, accepting his award for something or other having to do with football. MacLeish was a Yale letterman in 1914 and 1915.
Dropped Out: Illinois (#13), Florida State (#16), Indiana (#19), Wisconsin (#21), Texas A&M (#22), Wyoming (#25).
Aghhhhhhhh. In some respects: best season ever to go a-road-trippin’. In others, like the fact that I just can’t watch that many games on TV… well, I feel like I’m missing out on the mayhem. Then again: I’ve seen 9 of my Top 25 live.
I guess the biggest question here is: why do I have South Florida number one and not, say, Ohio State (who’s just been destroying people) or Boston College (featuring a QB I can’t help but have a mancrush on) or Arizona State (a team I suspect as being sorta kinda meandering along fooling us into thinking “Top 10 material!!!”) or anyone else? Because South Florida’s defense scared the living bejeebus out of me. They were so impressive it’s made a huge lasting impression resulting in me ranking them above Ohio State for several weeks now. This will all be rectified by this coming Thursday when the Bulls play Rutgers and I see what’s up. Also: I’ll be at the Wisconsin-Ohio State game and the Va. Tech-BC game. So that should cast light on any lingering doubts.
And aaaaaagh PSU and Michigan. What to do with you? I still believe in Morelli’s inherent inability despite the Wisconsin beat down, so there you go: when in doubt, side with Hart.
Road trip update: I think I’m sitting at 7,000 miles, give or take a few hundred here or there. States visited are in this order: California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana. I have gained a good 10 lbs., which is unsurprising given that my main three exercise routines are drinking, eating and driving. And walking to towing companies.
And for anyone unsure what my schedule is:
ALL TIMES EASTERN
Saturday, September 1st
Colorado State at Colorado (Denver, CO, Mile High Stadium); 10:00 AM
Saturday, September 8th
Miami (Fla) at Oklahoma (Norman, OK); 12:00 PM
Saturday, September 15th
USC at Nebraska (Lincoln, NE); 8:00 PM
Thursday, September 20th
Western Kentucky at Middle Tennessee State (Murfreesboro, TN); 7:00 PM
Saturday, September 22nd
Georgia at Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL); TBA
Friday, September 28th
West Virginia at South Florida (Tampa, FL); 8:00 PM
Saturday, September 29th
Auburn at Florida (Gainesville, FL); TBA
Thursday, October 4
Kentucky at South Carolina (Columbia, SC); 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 6
Virginia Tech at Clemson, (Clemson, SC); TBA
Wednesday, October 10
Navy at Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA); 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 13
Wisconsin at Penn State (State College, PA); 3:30 PM
Saturday, October 20
USC at Notre Dame (South Bend, IN); 3:30 PM
Thursday, October 25
Boston College at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA); 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 27
South Carolina at Tennessee (Knoxville, TN); TBA [First choice?]
Florida at Georgia (Jacksonville, FL); TBA [Second choice? Agh. Get back to me on this one.]
Sunday, October 28
UCF at Southern Miss (Hattiesburg, MS); 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 3
Wisconsin at Ohio State (Columbus, OH); TBA
Tuesday, November 6
Central Michigan at Western Michigan (Kalamazoo, MI); 7:30 PM
Wednesday, November 7
Ohio at Akron (Akron, OH); 7:30 PM
Thursday, November 8
Louisville at West Virginia (Morgantown, WV); 7:30 PM
Saturday, November 10
Auburn at Georgia (Athens, GA); TBA
Saturday, November 17
Ohio State at Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI); TBA [First choice]
LSU at Ole Miss (Oxford, MS); TBA [Second choice]
Maryland at Florida State (Tallahassee, FL); TBA [Larger data sample=more credibility]
Thursday, November 22
USC at Arizona State (Tempe, AZ); 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 24
Notre Dame at Stanford (Palo Alto, CA); TBA
Saturday, December 1
UCLA at USC (Los Angeles, CA); 4:30 PM
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia
… to be human again.
From 2002, Pete Carroll’s second season at USC, to the 2007 Rose Bowl the Trojans lost a total of 6 games by an average margin of 3.67 points: a 7 pointer to 11-2 Kansas State in Manhattan in 2002 along with a 3 point overtime loss to 2002 Co-Pac 10 Champion Washington State in Pullman; a triple overtime shocker in Strawberry Canyon in 2003; an epic Rose Bowl loss to a guy who may turn out to be one of the greatest players of the modern era; a deflected 2-point conversion in Corvallis and a redzone interception in Pasadena in 2006.
Say what you want about Oregon State and UCLA, but at least keep in mind that both teams took USC to its limits in the 2004 title year.
And then there’s Stanford. There is simply no accounting for Stanford: at home, with a 35 game winning streak on the line, against a rookie coach who pissed off Carroll, starting a wide eyed lesbian ceramics associate professor at QB. Stanford.
So why was I standing in the bowels of Beaver Stadium – having just watched Penn State dispatch Wisconsin with ruthless ease and suffered through three updates about the USC-Arizona game (10-10, Arizona up 13-10, USC up 17-13…), all of them accompanied by wild cheering from the crowd – with a huge grin on my face? I watched the last minutes of the game on one of those TV screens they have by concession stands. I watched with a crowd who desperately wanted to see USC lose, because everyone loves an underdog. When David Buehler kicked it through the uprights I turned around and grinned maliciously at them, the kind of grin that’s less smile and more baring of fangs. I pumped a few “V”s, which probably confused everyone. And for the first time since that 2002 season, my favorite season in who knows how many years of watching football, I didn’t think about mistakes, injuries, what-ifs, polls, ramifications, anything, really, except one thing: how good it feels to win.
It’s been so long since USC’s had a realistic chance of losing to anyone except one of the traditional powerhouses of college football (Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan). This is what it felt like in 2002, but, more specifically, this is what it felt like pre-2002: anything can happen, anything will happen, and, yes, even a 7 point win over a hapless Arizona team is a miracle, a godsend, a blessing, a wonder, something worth celebrating in of itself. This was not the case with some of the wins over the past several years. I was spoiled; we all were.
I’m a fan, so naturally I have ideas about what needs to happen for USC to be in New Orleans. (Hah!). But for the first time in a long time I’m only thinking about the next game and the stated goal: to make sure Notre Dame’s only win is over UCLA, which is thoroughly acceptable to a USC fan. Whether that win’s by 3 or 30, I’ll take it.
Oddly, this seems like an evolution, or at least a personal one. I’m sure Pete Carroll doesn’t exactly agree, though according to Scott Wolf:
About the only one who seems oblivious is Carroll. He blithely said it was a “sweet game for us” and “a great day for everyone here at the Coliseum.”
I have a lot to say about Wolf, by the way, but for now: he’s the best USC beat reporter because he very often has the best information; he’s also hideously unreadable thanks in part to his inability to understand the basic tenets of grammar and objectivity. And in this case, he also misses the point – though I can’t blame him, since many others probably did, too. But not Carroll.
It was a sweet game for me, the sweetest kind of victory: any victory at all.
“You have to worry about what’s best for the team,” [Steve] Sarkisian said. “You can’t worry about (the fans).”
Ask 2002 Ohio State if any of those wins are anything less than magnificent. I’m not saying I want this to be the status quo. A five touchdown victory over Charlie and the (On Strike) Touchdown Factory would be lovely, but, again, it’s nice to be human again.
From the same Daily News article:
“People have to learn this is the way it’s going to be for a while,” Sarkisian said. “This isn’t Matt (Leinart), Reggie (Bush), LenDale (White) and Dwayne (Jarrett).
“None of them are going to be easy now. We have to play tight football games. Field position is a big deal now. We never talked about that before.
“We’re going to be a in a dogfight. We’re learning. We’re a different football team. The punter matters now.“
The bolded portions are my own doing. They say, essentially, welcome back to reality. This is how 99% of college football teams do it. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, because it might be a while until it happens again – if at all. Which is something else worth reviewing: did I enjoy the past 5 years enough? I think so. I hope so. I was drunk most of the time, anyway. Not that I’ve evolved past that.
Not that I’ve evolved past reveling in the pain of others, either.
Bettering USC means a lot to the LSU Nation as evidenced by what happened when Tiger Stadium public address announcer Dan Borne announced USC’s loss to the record crowd of 92,910 just after LSU scored a touchdown to cut Florida’s lead to 17-14 midway in the fourth quarter. Players and fans went wild, and the noise was deafening.
“When they announced the USC-Stanford score, the stadium came loose,” Miles said. “We were operating to win the game, and when that happened it was like another shot of adrenaline that just said, ‘C’mon guys, let’s go play.’ It was a nice feel.” [LINK]
Guess what I did after watching PSU bludgeon Wisconsin and USC escape with a win? I watched Kentucky beat LSU, and I cheered my little ol’ schadenfreude loving heart out. Then I watched Oregon State beat Cal at home. For a good four hour period on Saturday I was back to a very familiar, very comfortable place: screw everyone that’s not dressed in cardinal and gold. That also felt a bit like an evolution.
Note: this has been a long time coming. Much has happened since WKU over MTSU. The only thing you need to know: I am, at long last, in the South.
First, some etcetera regarding Middle Tennessee State:
The Blue Raiders have been the Blue Raiders since 1934, when a contest was held to determine a suitable nickname for the school. The current mascot is a winged horse. It looks like a pegasus. It’s kinda cool the way newly minted mascots are cool: clear beneficiaries of at least two generations of draftsmen who were raised on design theory and attention grabbing iconography. The mascot before that was a blue tick hound named Ol’ Blue. The Tennessee Volunteers’ mascot is also a blue tick hound, which might be why MTSU changed their totem to a winged horse: when you are the largest university in the state of Tennessee but perhaps the third most recognized university in the state of Tennessee, there is no room for even remote emulation. Before Ol’ Blue, there was the Blue Raider: a student dressed up as Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate general who went on to found the Ku Klux Klan and a Tom Hanks movie. Understandably, there were protests in the 1970s (and likely before).
I found this out at the MTSU coach’s show at the Bluesboro Cafe, on Tuesday.
Me and Coach Stockstill, at Bluesboro Cafe.
Let me declare this forthrightly and without equivocation: in no way did I harbor any thoughts of Forrest, the KKK or anything similar during my time in Murfreesboro. The people were just too nice. But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t perhaps a bit wide eyed and curious on Wednesday night, when I pulled into Mark’s Campus Pub for a bit o’ pre-game drinking and karaoke singin’ and a wee bit o’ pukin’ and drunk pick up linin’.
Mark’s Campus Pub is quite possibly the single worst bar I’ve ever been to, if I were judging solely on the criterion of physical facility quality. There is no such contest, however. As Samuel L. Jackson said, “But, this bar’s got personality. And personality goes a long way.”
Example: first song of the night was Primus’ “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” as performed by a twenty something gentleman straight out of England’s catalog of thin jeaned, shaggy haired, tiny shirt wearing soldiers of shambolic glory. What he lacked in vocal talent he made up in pure, very apparent enthusiasm. At this point there were maybe thirty people in the bar – so standing room only.
After Indie Rock Avatar there was a shuffling from the back, near the foosball table. Out of a crowd of baseball cap wearing frat boys, a slowly rotating galaxy of tattooed leather enthusiasts and a sprinkling of seemingly out of place southern belles wearing – yes – sundresses, out stepped a girl who couldn’t have, soaking wet and holding a largish loaf of country wheat with a cummerbund of homemade sausages, weighed more than 98 lbs. You may think I am simply adhering to the time honored figure of 98 lbs., but I physically weighed her. Even after making a sandwich out of her regalia, she did not move an ounce past that number.
Which is why it was totally unsurprising that she belted out Rob Zombie’s “Dragula”, the chorus punctuated by the baring of fangs, the flashing of devil horns and the occasional (but emphatic) conjuration of the following example of metathesis: “Tuck Kenfucky!”
Neither of the first two singers were any good. The guy who got up to sing “Walking in Memphis” was tall, vaguely east of the Caucus-looking, effeminate and possessed of the beginnings of a beer belly. In no way did I expect him to transform the night into pure Tennessee, simply by singing a song I’d never heard before. He did. And holy shit, could he sing.
Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy — won’t you look down over me
Yeah I got a first class ticket
But I’m as blue as a boy can be
Then I’m walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel
I hadn’t been to Memphis. Still haven’t. But with one song, with everyone else singing in the bar – frat boys, goths, leatherkids, dresses, old men who should know better, the bouncer in the blue tank top and the ZZ top beard, the two aged and dispirited bartenders who were so bored with college kids they can’t even bother to smirk anymore, even they’re singing – I got a sense of what it must be like to be from here.
Bret, 23, explained: “Fifty percent of the time I’m embarrassed by the people around here. You get the guys who wave the Confederate flag, the idiots and the bigots. Some of them are just so ignorant it makes me want to scream. But the other half, more than half the time, man, it’s more than half by far, I think… I’m so proud of my southern heritage. There’s no place I’d rather be. No better place to grow up. I’ve been here [at MTSU] for five years now and I’m so disillusioned. We suck, y’know? We’re awful. But I still watch the games. I still love being here.”
Me: “Yeah, but when you finally pull off that ten win season it’s gonna be that much sweeter. Fans of bad teams get shit all their lives, but when it happens, it happens.”
Bret: “Yeah, well, that line stopped working after about year three….”
By then a group of six men, many of them with collared shirts tucked into jeans and boots, get up for their song. Their previous number was Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice”. I figure another homage to white boys lip syncing to gangsta rap is in order, but instead the familiar twangs of the opening chords to Lynard Skynard’s “Sweet Home Alabama” come on. The entire bar starts rawking. It’s a strange sight to see so many Tennesseans singing “Sweet Home Alabama” so happily, so much so that when the chorus comes around and the traditional (in Tuscaloosa) “Roll, Tide, Roll!” is normally sung, confusion is remedied with a very loud, very joyous
Now, I’ve seen Bama stuff all over Nashville, Lynchburg and Murfreesboro – almost as much as I’ve seen Tennessee Volunteer stuff. Plus: this is an MTSU bar. What gives?
Bret: “Hating Alabama is universal, man. I hate UT, too. But fuck Alabama.”
By now the entire bar is singing: Indie Rock Avatar, 98 lbs. girl, large effeminate Memphis walker, they are all of them screaming out
and then we tear through a rendition of “Dixieland Delight” (ironically, by the band Alabama), and I’m actually singing lines like
Spend my dollar, parked in a holler,
‘Neath the mountain moonlight.
Hold her up tight,
Make a little lovin’,
A little turtle dovin’.
On a Mason-Dixon night.
Fits my life, oh so right,
My Dixieland Delight.
when Marc Cohn’s lyric finally hits me.
They’ve got catfish on the table
They’ve got gospel in the air
And Reverend Green be glad to see you
When you haven’t got a prayer
But boy you’ve got a prayer in Memphis
Now Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would —
Do a little number
And I sang with all my might
And she said —
“Tell me are you a Christian child?”
And I said “Ma’am I am tonight”
Better to ask, “Tell me are you a southern child?” Who knew, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, of all places? From that day until I passed from Clemson into Washington, D.C., I said it to everyone I could talk to: “I love the South.”
The game itself was a disappointment. The MTSU that hung 42 on Louisville at Papa John’s Stadium was nowhere to be found. To Western Kentucky’s credit, an excellent defense helped limit the first start of talented freshman QB Dwight Dasher. The QB who almost led the Blue Raiders to an upset over Louisville was injured. He has since relinquished his job to Dasher.
This is as prosaic as can be. Don’t be fooled: there was considerable pain and anguish and wailing from the MTSU faithful. This was, after all, their first home game. It was their first game against rival WKU since 1991. It was their first game with the new JumboTron.
(Side note: this was pretty much all anyone could talk about. The JumboTron was the circus, the county fair, a presidential debate and the Summer Olympics all alighting at town hall long enough for each resident to get a peek. It was a big deal. I paid particular attention to it during the game. The camera operators and booth editors were all jacked up like squirrels on meth. There were dangerously epileptic montages, quicksilver camera cuts and a barrage of fades and dissolves found only in student films based on elaborate Jerry Bruckheimer-as-modern-Fellini theses, i.e., pure chaos out of a well meaning intent to impress and, perhaps, enlighten.)
I stayed with Chris and John, both of MTSU message board fame, in their box for a while. Their friend, whose name I have forgotten to my eternal dismay, spent most of the time chatting me up and asking me what I thought and generally shaking his head because, after all, what a shameful performance for me to see, but here’s a commemorative football for you and good luck to you. This kind of kindness was, again, protocol. Our discussion was routinely interrupted by the deck above, where a sorority had established a beachhead, set up kill zones and deployed armor. We all wanted very much to storm that beach. Every time we looked up above us all we could see was glorious, wonderful, undulating female. It was exactly like that scene in Saving Private Ryan where the camera pulls back to reveal Normandy covered in troops, trucks, tanks, tankers, battleships, airplanes, dirigibles, matériel, etc., except with breasts. I went upstairs at halftime.
I had a pretty good time. There was a fellow there dressed in a salmon and mint seersucker ensemble, which was impressive but not that much more than all the other frat boys wearing coats and ties and somehow not dying of glandular meta-sweatification. The women all wore sundresses, or dresses. (What’s the difference, anyway?) Everyone had two things on the brain: football, and sex, and not in that order.
One guy who was so drunk he was outraged they wouldn’t stop play whenever he called timeout: “You know what the point of football games is? Getting laid.”
(Time travel: I am coasting through the panhandle of Florida towards Tampa almost a week later, lazily driving along HWY 98, when I spot a CVS Pharmacy in the town of Navarre. It makes me think of penicillin, and whether I need penicillin, and perhaps I should make a stop at a local doctor’s office because it’s about time I do this, the South’s been kind so far so let’s not put anyone in harm’s way, and it’s really for everyone’s peace of mind but especially my own, plus maybe I’ll get a lollipop. So I pull into the Holley Navarre Medical Clinic where a Mr. Joel Rudman, M.D. has his practice. It’s the first time I’ve ever bothered using my PPO, and I feel happy that my $10 co-pay is making that $90 monthly worthwhile. The exterior of the office is like any other: vaguely white, vaguely beige, lots of Good Housekeeping back issues. Once I get inside I find 1) a Tim Tebow poster autographed by Tebow 2) a national championship poster/schedule/future schedule 3) Gator stickers 3a) a sticker proclaiming “This is… the Swamp” and not, in fact, the Holley Navarre Medical Clinic of Navarre, FL 4) an actual media guide to the Florida Gators’ 2007 season, sitting in waiting room one 5) Joel Rudman, who is a big goofy guy who acts like he’s a teenager but is clearly a competent medical authority because, hey, he’s got a coat on and his handwriting looks sloppy, and boy does he like the Gators. I like him immediately. We chat about general STD detection methods, my fear of needles, Gator football, the LSU juggernaut, gonorrhea, AIDS tests, SEC football, the book Dixieland Delight, etc. I drop the drawers. I ask him whether he thinks Florida will beat LSU. He asks me where it’s at. He takes a Q-tip like device and, rather painfully, takes a swab from you-know-where-but-just-in-case-it’s-the-pee-hole. I tell him it’s at Death Valley. He puts the Q-tip thing in a little canister, and I pull up my board shorts. He notes that Death Valley is a tough place to play, but especially under the lights. Naturally, he says, it’ll be a night game. Tough, tough place to play. Those Cajuns are crazy. Yup. So, Jon, where’s your next game? Oh, Florida-Auburn. I’m really looking forward to it. Really?, I’m going there too. And suddenly I can’t remember the information he’s been doling out between these sentences, vital stuff like how long the tests will take and when I should call, because I’m wondering if I can find him and his tailgate. We shake hands, I pantomime a Gator chomp, he laughs and says “Maybe I’ll see you in New Orleans!” and that’s how my STD check went. So as much as the MTSU kid was right in that live college football games are fantastic ways to get laid, there’s also this: college football is a fantastic way to pass the time during otherwise awkward/uncomfortable moments related to the realm of sex, its repercussions, its lack thereof, or simply the general theory/practice of. I am not going to lie to you: I have found myself, mid-coitus, wondering whether USC’s game was going to get picked up by the local affiliates. This is my world.)
The ladies of Alpha Omicron Pi made signs and cheer, but they weren’t exactly into it. I asked one of them what she gets out of football games.
“Oh, I watch the cheerleaders most of the time. They’re pretty amazing.”
Fair enough. College football can’t captivate everyone the way it does me, and here’s the proof: MTSU, a traditionally mediocre football school that’s only recently been tabbed as a possible Sun Belt power, has football games. Those football games are entertaining by themselves, sure, but more than that they serve as a gigantic mixer for anyone who wants to be excused from the kind of liabilities and stigmas we impose on those who scream, paint themselves, get drunk, shout obscenities, flirt openly and dangerously, curse men much larger than ourselves, wave towels, belch, do the wave, question play calling, invest vast amounts of concern into a game, get arrested, etc. It is an Event that happens only once a week, twelve times a year, in the localized region of the brain known as The Eternal Autumn. Not everyone can be hideously obsessed with the actual game, so there are such things as alcohol, sundresses, cheerleaders and getting laid.
This is the MTSU Moving Man. I thought he was the Dancing Man, but he kept calling himself the Moving Man and so, I feel, should I. He rocked the crowd. Here we are doing a chorus kick, even though you can’t see it.
After the game he showed up to one of the tailgates I ended up at. He came right on over, talking and jabbering like he knew every single one of us. He was soaked with sweat. He conversed one sidedly about his 40th high school reunion in Chattanooga, MTSU women’s basketball games, parking lots, free form jazz, exercise instruction, and hot dogs. He was particularly interested in hot dogs, specifically the ones cooking on the nearby grill. In the peculiar and thoroughly old people way that old people do, he assumed the hot dogs/general resources of the community/everything were his for the taking because he was both old and the MTSU Moving Man, which doesn’t trump oldness so much as it augments it. He ate our BBQ chips. He drank our soda. And, after he left because we clearly had become a bit uncomfortable with him (not that he knew, cared, etc.), all one girl could say to me was, “The dancing man stole your hot dog.”
Which is a pretty good way to end this post.
NEXT: Bama. And I mean it this time.
From a guide to using Simpsons quotes during bowl season [Dec. 23, 2006]…
Quote: “The two sweetest words in the English language: de-fault! De-fault! De-fault!”
Episode: “Deep Space Homer” (2/24/94)
Context on the show: Homer is informed he’ll be America’s newest astronaut after leading candidate Barney Gumble lapses back into alcoholism, thus enabling a win by default.
When to use: If your team’s playing a traditionally bad program, or when your team beats a traditionally bad program. Unfortunately for you those two events don’t always come after each other.
Example: You are playing Stanford.
Notes: Using this chant before a game may jinx you. To ward off the effects of a curse simply sacrifice the nearest virgin – which, if you’re playing a traditonally bad football program and therefore a traditionally strong academic school, should be very near.
I did not actually use this chant, but in my mind I was certainly repeating it.
Also: Brian of mgoblog, on the subject of the Straight Bangin’ Award…
During the season, the Straight Bangin’ Award is often the property of blogs covering a highly-ranked team coming off a dispiriting loss. This week Saurian Sagacity goes flapjack nuts, as mentioned, ranking UF #21.
Our top four voters in this category represent USC, Florida, Wisconsin, and USC. The winner is Jonathan Tu, who one-ups Saurian Sagacity by leaving USC completely out of his poll. Saurian Sagacity‘s own total omission of Florida from their ballot can’t compare; they narrowly finish second. I believe Tu’s winning margin of -12.46 is the highest score ever recorded in this category.
It’s kinda like having your home country/state/prefecture/etc. register the largest recorded earthquake ever. On one hand, wow!, death and devastation! On the other hand, hey!, first place!
And here’s a very vaguely related link, just because I can: Earthquake Sets Japan Back To 2147 [The Onion]
Finally: Navy 48, Pittsburgh 45 (2OT) was incredible. I got on the field during halftime as part of the gigantic American flag unfolding-thingie. I sat with the Pitt students for the first three quarters of the game. Then I moved to the Navy section for the fourth. Pictures will be up soon enough (and by soon, I mean whenever the hell I get around to it.) This game reaffirmed everything I love about college football. Stanford still hurts the way a pike to your innards hurts – deep, probably fatal, certainly a prolonged and painful period of dealing-with-pike-wound, and oddly archaic – but celebrating Dave Wannstedt’s immense and awe inspiring stupidity with a bunch of Midshipmen was as cathartic as anything I can think of. If there was a better time to not be in Los Angeles I can’t think of it.
Though I’m certain many people would be more than happy to explain to me that any time is a good time to not be in Los Angeles.
A big thank you to Chad Reed, who played on the offensive line for Pitt and, as a senior center in 2002, was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. Chad got me a ticket to Pitt-Navy. The game didn’t turn out as he hoped, obviously, but he still got me into the Mustard Palace for free. A lifetime of Iron City beer for Chad is in the works, and by in the works I mean probably not happening even though it should because guys like him deserve it.
Dropped Out: Southern Cal (#3), Florida (#11), Georgia (#15), Clemson (#18), Michigan State (#20), Rutgers (#21), Purdue (#23), Kansas State (#24).
This is the worse ballot ever. I don’t even want to talk about it, except two things:
Which of the two loss SEC teams to include? Certainly one of them needed conclusion. Georgia looked good until Fulmer decided he wanted to attack someone with a spiky club. Tennessee suffered two humiliating losses at the beginning of the season, and then now they’re steamrolling? Florida? With two losses in a row? Auburn it is. I think it goes without saying that Alabama and Mississippi State weren’t in the running.
Kansas or Arizona State: One of them doesn’t belong. Perhaps both. But, shit. Have you seen the rest of the Top 25?
The third thing I did not mention I would be mentioning: USC dropping out of the ballot completely is absurd, I suppose. But no one is reeling more, no one is injured more, and no one has looked worse in the past two weeks. And no one’s given up a 4th-and-20 to Tavita Pritchard.
Tavita? Yeah, Tavita.
Fuck. You said it.
That’s the number of people who attended USC-Stanford. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – home of the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympiads, the first ever Super Bowl, 22 Pro Bowls, the former Los Angeles Rams, the former Los Angeles Raiders, the current (but long since vacated) Los Angeles Dodgers, and, of course, the eleven* time national champion Trojans – has a seating capacity of 92,516. This is the second home game in a row that the formerly #1/#2 team in the country could not sell out.
I did not see the game, but apparently there was audible booing – particularly on Chauncey Washington’s failed fourth down conversion on the goal line. Having been stuck in Clemson’s Death Valley nervously – nervously!** – wondering what the score was, I can’t say whether that booing was deserved or not (John David Booty: “Believe me on the inside I was booing too.”) I do know this: 85,125 is not 92,516. Our season tickets have been moved multiple times since the beginning of this whole success thing. For what? For a bunch of guys who aren’t going to show up to USC-Stanford? If anyone should be booed it’s the Coliseum crowd that so often can’t even figure out that it should be wearing red; or that standing up and yelling is the norm and not, in fact, sitting down and demanding everyone else to, too; or that can’t even fill up one of the great landmarks of college football in order to watch the premier program of the past half decade take the field to defend the former NCAA leading home winning streak.
It was pouring rain during the entire first quarter in Williams-Brice Stadium. Girls showed up wearing cocktail dresses and they stayed and screamed things like “Go Cocks!” and “Go! Fight! Win! Kick ass!” right on through the deluge. Bless them.
You know what? Good for Stanford, and Jim Harbaugh who is so eminently unlikable that I oscillated between applauding and driving murderously towards Palo Alto and, really, am I decided yet?, and good for Tavita Pritchard, who before yesterday’s game was – as far as everyone in the nation was concerned – an earnest young lesbian ceramics associate professor yearning to set the world of cutting edge pottery on fire. And I do not mean that Tavita Pritchard sounds like a lesbian who teaches ceramics; I mean that Tavita Pritchard is the kind of name you’d associate with someone who teaches the art of lesbian ceramics, probably at your local community college but there’s always that opening at Santa Cruz. Whether or not Pritchard was, before rocketing into national consciousness, an actual lesbian is the kind of question a classless rag would ask but, as far as this blog is concerned, it certainly lends credibility to the whole associate professor of lesbian ceramics thing. Not that I’m pigeonholing.
But, again, good for the Cardinal: yesterday was the Feast of St. Crispin. Yesterday was the kind of event that changes lives. As I was listing towards my car I passed a tailgate still eating and drinking and listening to game reports. I stopped by and listened, because I am a sucker for auto-flagellation. The USC score rolled through. I said that I felt like jumping off a bridge. The elderly gentleman in charge of the tailgate, or at least in charge of looking in charge of the tailgate, said, very seriously, “It’s just a game, son.”
Tell that to Stanford.
By the way, The Farm used to be a big empty place. Now it’s a smaller, not as empty place and, via a reduction of patheticness, perhaps it’s more intimidating. Maybe the 7,391 people who didn’t show up Saturday were simply trying to send a message to the USC administration: “Let’s make the Coliseum a more hostile place!”
Bless them for their efforts.***
* Yes, yes, the 1939 championship is ridiculous. When I first fell in love with USC football the numbers were easy to remember: 4 Heismans, 8 national championships. The addition of three Heismans in four years was an amazing, wonderful thing. The addition of three national championships in two years was an amazing, wonderful thing, except that the third championship was retroactively self-awarded with the possible mindset of, “Well, we’re winning a lot of these things at once. Maybe no one will notice?”
** I really was nervous about the game. Not nervous enough to believe USC would lose, but there are a number of bad things that can happen in a victory: injuries, loss of confidence, etc. (Matt Grootegoed, the patron saint of small white linebackers who get it done, was injured against the Cardinal after a cheap shot left him without the use of one leg. He’s still my favorite linebacker of all time, even one legged.) (He now has two legs again, but for half a season there he didn’t.) (Which means he’s my favorite two legged linebacker, as well.) Perhaps I wondered if Carroll would eclipse the 38.5 spread. This much is certain: the more you know about your team, the worse you expect. I wish I could have soldiered on in blind indifference once I found out the halftime score. I wish. But instead I became impossibly nervous about Stanford. That should say a lot about my state of being.
*** And by bless them, I mean fuck them.
His name is Jim Harbaugh. Not my puppy. My puppy is named Bonestorm. Jim Harbaugh ran over Bonestorm, the greatest puppy in the history of college football.
I think I might just drive straight back to California tomorrow and eat In ‘n Out until I don’t feel feelings anymore.
Everything is dark and hopeless and devoid of meaning. I want a chocolate vanilla milkshake very badly right now. And two sausage McMuffin with egg sandwiches for two dollars. And heroin.
(That’s one “h” for every home win USC has had since 2001, when… Stanford… beat the Trojans at the Coliseum.)