This is an investigation of dickishness in college football. Please note that by dickishness, we don't mean dancing, or celebrations, or coaches leaving in the middle of the year. We mean in-game decisions that reek of football actions three standard deviations from the core of commonly considered football courtesy or behavior, actions so devoid of any strategic value that their only possible value comes from the holy triumverate of spite, hatred, and distaste for your opponent.
This list is by no means inclusive, but rather a series of highlights. Not included is John Heisman's 222-0 embarrassment of Cumberland College, since Cumberland College was scarcely a team and they were playing in an era where football was scarcely distinguishable from rugby. Neither is garden variety running up the score, which is all too common, or any of Urban Meyer's mild antics, since he does not even rank on this list for sheer spite. (Timeouts and a field goal late do not even come close to sniffing the starting lineup on this list.)
We're talking real live mad dickishness here, and demand high standards. We start with a warm-up, and then get deeper into mad dickishness, since the examples cited at the end are so ridiculously dickish that getting right into them would result in injuries to precious muscles and ligaments. Feel free to add your own afterwards, but remember: they must be quality, or else fail the standard set by the masters of the game.
WARM-UP DICKISHNESS: Phil Fulmer Leaves Peyton Manning In To Rack Up Yards in 1997.
Properly upbraiding the dickish coach
Padding stats in the SEC's Ring of Eternal 360 Degrees Of Spite
Phil Fulmer was the first to splutter when Florida hung fifty on him on multiple occasions, but was jiggly-boy happy to do the same when it came to prize pony Peyton Manning, who in a quest to rack up stats and records was left in late in a blowout against UGA in 1997. After racking up 600 plus yards of offense and passing late for a 38-13 win, Georgia head coach Jim Donnan told Fulmer what he did was "chickenshit" at midfield, and we agree. If you're going to amass that many yards, you may as well have the decency to go over the fifty mark like a proper bastard.
This is your yearly reminder that Phil Fulmer had Jamal Lewis in the backfield and Peyton Manning under center and still ended up with the most talented Citrus Bowl team ever.
Speaking of proper bastards....
MAD DICKISH: Steve Spurrier Ends Ray Goff's LIfe.
Spurrier's long and storied master class in ace dickery has a crowning moment, and it is calling a flea-flicker with his backup quarterback in the fourth quarter in an attempt to become the first team ever to score fifty points between the hedges in Athens in 1995. The play didn't go for a touchdown, but Florida did score, and ours truly, leaping up to celebrate the TD like a proper asshole in the band should, was hit at that exact instant in the head by a bolt thrown by someone in the Georgia stands.
At the time we had lustrous, Brian Cook-ish hair, and watched as the rusty bolt bounced harmlessly off our Fauntleroy locks and landed on the ground without fuss. A quick inspection of the bolt showed that it matched the ones that secured the seats to the stadium itself, meaning an astonishing sequence of events and redneck strength occurred in the few seconds surrounding the TD:
0 seconds: TD is scored
2 seconds: Orson Swindle leaps up to full height
2.1--2.4 seconds: A UGA fan rips a goddamn bolt out of the stadium to throw at me
2.4-2.8 seconds: Bolt is thrown from impressive distance uphill. Bill Walsh would be agog at this release time.
3.3 seconds: Impact.
Just an amazing display of redneck strength and quick-twitch muscle fibers. If Ray Goff's defense had played with the same verve that day, we'd have lost by ninety, but as it was they appeared to be under the influence of ketamine, and spent the second half slapping blindly at invisible flies buzzing around their heads while allowing Florida receivers to run unimpeded through the defensive backfield.
The upside for Georgia is that Goff died in the fourth quarter from shame, and rests in a grave buried underneath what is now a Zaxby's in Moultrie, Georgia. A small memorial to Goff is found in a booth in the restaurant, and every Thursday Zalads are a dollar off in his honor.
MAD DICKISH: Pete Carroll, Variation One (Object)
The value of the number fifty
The delicacy that is failed spite redeemed by even more futile play on the part of the opponent
The tautological answer to "What's your deal?"
When you get the shot to hit D-Bo with the brick, most people would take it, and then others would take it, and then get their car, and drive over his head until it became a fine brain-paste on the pavement. Then those people would take the body, stuff it in cans, and sell it as meat to be fed to ferrets with their sharp, pointy teeth, since the ultimate insult is to be too rank a meat to feed to your fellow apes. (Cannibalism: the ultimate compliment!)
Stanford decimated USC in 2009, rushing for 325 yards, letting Toby Gerhart loose for 3 TDs, and scoring 27 points in a fourth quarter best described as a short play starring USC's defense playing the part of light blocking sleds. The mad dickishness came after Gerhart's third and final touchdown in the fourth quarter when Harbaugh, sitting on 48 and already well past the envelope of asswhipping, decided to salt the earth with a two point conversion to make it an even fifty.
The Cardinal missed on the attempt, but pulled off the coup de grace by scoring on their next possession anyway. After the game Pete Carroll asked "What's your deal?" to Harbaugh, who answered with "What's your deal?" Then they just kind of stared at each other like they were either going to fight, kiss each other passionately, or both simultaneously.
MAD DICKISH, SIMILAR KEY: Woody Hayes Goes For Two Because He Couldn't Go For Three
The three point conversion should be legal in rivalry games
Woody Hayes really, really hated Michigan.
We always imagine Woody Hayes sitting naked in hell, and with good reason. Heaven's for liberal, let's-share pansies, and if he'd wanted that for an eternity he would have bought a house in the People's Republic of Ann Arbor, for chrissakes. He also perfected the art of conducting press conference nude after losses to make things brief for himself, so thus the nudity. They've got cable and the iso play down there, and that and black coffee, America, and hornrims are all Woody needs to call a place home.
The devil in Mr. Hayes came out more often than not against Michigan, and no more clearly than in 1968 when Ohio State scored in the fourth quarter to hit 48 points, which Hayes naturally saw, did some quick math, and decided to go for two. He was blameless, though: it was the rules, not spite, that forced him to do what he did.
Woody Hayes then concluded his career by punching a player on the field. It would not be gay if you made love with him, because he is Woody Hayes, and everything about him was America in a short-sleeved shirt and tie standing in a blizzard. You'd probably get a Medal of Honor for the effort, actually, provided you actually survived the violence of the lovemaking. (One play: up the middle, over and over again until the clock runs out.)
MAD DICKISH: Pete Carroll, Variation Two (Subject)
Taking the piss with unnecessary timeouts
Answering minor dickishness with major dickishness
Celebrating said dickishness with doubly dickish public behavior
The concept of "ass-ham"
Up 21-7 with a minute to go in the 2009 UCLA/USC game, Rick Neuheisel, down two scores with scraps left on the clock, calls timeouts. Maybe you've seen the ESPN movie Codebreakers, a relic from the Mark Shapiro SPORTSTAINMENT era when ESPN attempted to make feature films once popular with proles in the early 20th century instead of doing cool shit like 30 for 30. Mark Shapiro was recently removed as head of Six Flags after driving the franchise into the ground. He sucks at everything, and is responsible for introducing Stephen A. Smith ot the world. Hit him with a two by four if you see him randomly on the street, and aim for the teeth.
In Codebreakers Scott Glenn plays Army coach Red Blaik, and in the waning seconds of a hopeless loss to Navy he intones "It all matters" to a team attempting to score in a dire, unsalvageable game. It's spoken like scripture, and is total crap, because the waning seconds of a game don't matter when you're losing by two TDs and the other team is paving you on the ground. You're done. Capitulation is not an option, but game management--i.e. letting the clock run out--is more than an honorable option at this point.
Making the point by calling a time out when the opponent has clearly signalled their intent to run out the clock...now that's slightly dickish. (There's majorly dickish ways of doing this, but more on Mark Dantonio's basement-filled-with-bones-and-tubs-of-quicklime later.) What's mad dickish is going play-action deep on the next play, and then jumping around like a toddler five minutes into the Halloween candy bag on the sidelines to celebrate in a game where, in all honesty, your team played like a sluggish bag of wet ass-ham against a vastly inferior opponent.
It's really a pox on all parties here: Neuheisel for watching his teaching moment blow up in his beautiful face, and to Pete Carroll for taking out Stanford's transgressions
MAD DICKISH: Mark Dantonio Has A Point To Make Everyone, And No One's Going Anywhere Until He Does.
Mark Dantonio dissolves bodies in his basement with tubs of quicklime
Big Ten coaches are actually crazier than you can possibly know
Everyone will die of frostbite to prove a point in East Lansing
Big Ten fans remain fond of mocking any concept that the human body starts to shut down and die when the temperature goes below freezing, but there is one exception to this nearly universal bravado in the face of imminent frostbite and death by hypothermia: the 2008 Penn State/ Michigan State game.
It is a universally accepted truth outside of SIberia that 17 degrees is not just cold, but is fucking freezing. That was the temperature at the end of a bitter 49-18 blowout featuring a late bomb for a TD by Penn State. Unsporting? Well perhaps, but as Pete Carroll himself would say "You get to do those things when the other team can't stop it." (And it's not like Penn State threw twelve bombs when they were up by forty points. That happened, and will be explained further along in this post.)
Well, because Mark Dantonio is barking insane, that's why, and a mad dickish dick for keeping his team and the fans out in cold that sled dogs would whine in for another eight seconds. It's cool that you're insane. We're not going to judge, or tell you that you can't conduct staff meetings where you stare at a side of beef in front of your silent, cowed staff "to show them what determination looks like." But really, eight seconds? That's when you decide to have your teaching moment? Not, say, before the game when you could have made your team play well, and not lose by thirty points at home?
How to make the opposing coach raise his middle finger to you
It didn't just come from the aether: Utah had lost 31-15 to Wyoming the year before in Laramie, so some degree of vengeance was inevitable in the 2007 game between the Utes and Cowboys. Utah had long taken care of that by the half, however, up 40-0 and capable of doing whatever it wanted to a thoroughly dismantled Cowboy team. Yet, leading 43-0 in the third quarter,
Kyle Whittingham admittedly "let his emotions get the better of him" and called for an onside kick.
This led to many apologies after the game: Glenn for flicking off Whittingham from the opposite sideline, Whittingham for calling the onside in the first place, and from a dead Genghis Khan for not living up to his reputation historically by never doing anything as ruthless or pillage-y as Whittingham's call.
"I should have had my soldiers urinate on the ashes of Samarkand, or maybe something with more flair, I don't know. But raping everyone in the city while they were on fire, painting the walls with their blood, eating the animals alive, burning the place to the ground, salting the earth, and cursing the ashes clearly pales in comparison to calling an onside kick in the 3rd when you're up by 43. I apologize for this retroactive disappointment on behalf of Mongol Nation, and promise to do better in my next life as a genocidal maniac."
MAAAAAAAAAAD DICKISH, WITH CONFESSION REQUIRED AFTERWARDS: Notre Dame Fake Punts Boston College
Going for a fake punt up by 37 points in a shutout. No, really.
Ensuring painful defeat the next year.
Lou Holth lothing any ability to talk about thporthmanship ever
This one's brief: up 37-0 in the third quarter of the 1992 Boston College game, Lou Holtz called a fake punt for a touchdown against Boston College. Then, the next year, Boston College beat them 41-39. Forgiveness is a very Catholic concept, but so is burning hell. Guess which one applies here THE ANSWER IS BURNING FIERY HELL YOUNG ONES.
MAD DICKISH: Jack Pardee and Houston Run Out The Clock With Vertical Routes
How to ruin a lifelong coaching friendship
Running out the clock by throwing the nine route
Proper technique for setting a pony on fire in front of horrified onlookers
Jack Pardee and SMU coach Forrest Gregg were friends once. Note: this was BEFORE the 1989 game between Houston and SMU:
That headline had an expiration date, and it was October 21, 1989.
One surefire trick of opportunistic gamblers during the season is to find a game like Florida versus Charleston Southern, see if there is a line, and then cash in by betting that the absurd seventy-nine point spread will not be covered by a bored team with its starter on the bench in the second quarter. These people fucking hated Jack Pardee and the run 'n shoot Houston Cougars, and with good reason. Set a sixty point spread, the Cougars hit it with molotov cocktails and burned down your proverbial wagering hut with it.
The spread for the Houston/SMU game in 1989 was 59 1/2 points, with the Cougars in full run 'n shoot flower with Andre Ware at the helm against an SMU team coming off two years of suspended animation without football. (See EDSBS Football Encyclopedia, page 4928 "The Craig James-ening." Related article: "Craig James and Sorrow: A Strong and Statistically Sound Correlation," page 8291.) SMU fielded a team of freshmen and sophomores in '89, and lost to Baylor 49-3. For some, this would indicate weakness, and an easy game on the schedule. For Houston, it constituted a dare.
The first half falls under the permitted terms of a horrendous blowout: a tally of 59-14, with Ware throwing for 517 yards, 5 TDs, and going 25 for 41 before taking his lady-slaying tight fade to the bench with a smoking right hand and an NCAA record for passing yards in a quarter (340) (holy) (shit). This is the point where you start running off tackle and getting the freshmen in for playing time. This is when you sneak a surreptitious rum and coke on the sidelines, and let the assistants order pizza during the game in the booth. This is, for ninety-nine football coaches out of a hundred, bonus titties and gravy time.
Passing offenses always have difficulty running out the clock, but at least 12 of the 20 passes called in the second half for David Klingler were of the sort that only killed clock by hanging in the air for three or four seconds before landing in the hands of wide receivers streaking downfield. Houston would score another thirty-six points to finish the game with 96 points, 1,021 yards of total offense, and 771 yards passing. They also threw elderly SMU fans over the stadium breezeways "to see if gravity would knock the old person smell off them," ate the SMU pony, and placed the entire SMU team on the mailing list for International Male so their roommates could mock them.
Jack Pardee said this after the game. Do not read with liquid of any sort in your mouth.
''If I had a choice, I wouldn't have gotten 1,000 yards,'' he said. ''I didn't want that or 100 points. It's a shame to have to work with freshmen and redshirt freshmen. That's not what college football is about. We're not interested in rubbing it in on anyone.''
In a word: absolutely pitiless, and not even the worst of Houston's blowouts. This is K2; Everest is their 100-6 victory over Tulsa in 1968, though Houston was allegedly attempting to run the clock out when, leading 51-6 at the end of the third, they scored 49 points in the fourth quarter to hit the century mark. Pardee's 96 point masterpiece of dickery wins for no attempt being made whatsoever to stop the carnage. A man walked down the street being attacked by wolves, and Pardee stapled steaks to his ass and watched the carnage.