Oh, we'll be watching it. Don't misunderstand our apprehensions about the Texas-Ohio State game. It's not the teams, since both feature elite athletes playing collective asses off, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Matchups like this tend to bypass the frilly-collared, ascot-wearing offensive football dandy-part of the brain and go directly to the deep, lizard-brain base pleasure of watching "BIG MAN HIT BIG MAN THING GO SNAP!" part of the football fan's soul.
The queasy apprehension we feel in the pit of our stomachs isn't from eating some of the shrimp we bought out of some dude named Lamar's trunk a few days ago--where else are you gonna find shrimp for three dollars a pound in Atlanta? No, mild cramping and subsequent nausea is what you'll experience when someone offers you a matchup between two mean-ass programs coached by Mack Brown and Jim Tressel and just dares you not to try and watch it.
In short: picking between the two stinks. Reminds us of another contest...
Just hold your nose and pick. That's happened before.
As a matter of principle, we here at EDSBS.com don't like either coach. Reasons follow:
REP: Recruiter and cupcake eater...
whose teams beat everyone but the one team they need to beat. Legendary schmoozer of Bike-shorted high school coaches. Once begged the media for a BCS slot with a depraved, shameless plea on national television ( and got it.) Wins a lot of games by putting blue-chippers on the roster, hiring quality assistants in a sharklike fashion from other programs, and running the hell out of the ball. Ass-patting, good 'ole boy confidence man with a a-list bullshitter's charm and a deft hand with the media.
NICKNAME: Ummm...how 'bout "Mack?" Or "Later," since the Sooners always seem to come out ahead of him?
NUMBAHS: 71-19 at Texas. Of those nineteen losses, twelve are against top 5 opponents. Of those 71 victories, one is against a top 5 opponent.
SELF-DESCRIBED AS..."gregarious," according to his website. Positive read: good networker and people person. Negative read: sociopath.
Brown, the consummate ass-patter. Do you like movies about gladiators, Vince?
BETE NOIRE: Bob Stoops. Brown has never defeated Stoops during his tenure at Texas. Of course, according to Mack, that's all gonna change! For sure!
WE IMAGINE HIS FAVORITE PROFANITY IS..."gawdammit."
PLAYER WHO CURSES HIS NAME: Major Applewhite, runty upstart qb and "the people's choice" of the Texas crew, for benching him in favor of shiny thing Chris Simms in 2001. Applewhite, to his credit, has never done this in public, and has Brown on his call-in show every Friday. Brown should do this, of course, since Applewhite bailed out the capricious Brown in the Holiday Bowl that year, playing his pint-sized ass off and eventually winning a ludicrous 47-43 victory over Washington after coming off of the bench for the pickalicious Chris Simms.
FASHION FAUX PAS: Must get a handsome cut of the licensing agreement, since Mack doesn't shit without Longhorn-logoed asswipes beside him. We've never seen him in public without some form of burnt-orangewear on him, often double and triple-teaming gear to the point of absurdity. He's one of those guys that really digs the freebies at work, obviously, and probably has ketchup packets from the Texas cafeteria in his drawer at home.
IF HE WERE A CRIMINAL HE'D BE...the CEO type in a glossy embezzlement scandal. Would likely get off and keep the house in St. Croix.
REP: A coach with an imprimatur so distinctive it has earned the status of prefix: "Tresselball."
A programmatic guy rather than the personal type (a la Mack Brown), Tressel builds up the uni through image, rite, and organization rather than his own personal magnetism and charm. Scheme-wise, he's a D-up, punt, and cover guy, pounding on defense and special teams while running glacial offenses that take few chances and act primarily as custodians of the ball for the defense. Like Brown, a ruthless recruiter. Unlike Brown, takes a pious, buttoned-up approach to the media and his image, a direct counterpoint to OSU players' predilection for extracurricular mayhem and persistent rumors of improper benefits for football players in Columbus. A tie-wearing old schooler with the air of a church deacon.
NICKNAME: "Cheatypants Sweatervest."
NUMBAHS: 41-11 at OSU, including the 2002 national championship. 175-68-2 at lowly Youngstown State. 6-1 versus top 25 teams, including 3-1 versus Michigan. Dude wins big games despite having bad writing like this on his website.
In 2002, Ohio State literally came from out of nowhere to capture the school's, and the Big Ten's, first consensus national title since 1968.
Like Sim City: (pop!) and Tressel created OSU. And on the seventh day, he loaned an Escalade to a blue-chipper. Allegedly!
OSU did not, in fact, exist prior to Tressel's arrival.
SELF-DESCRIBED AS..."showered with accolades"..."respected". Positive read: works hard to pump the school and polish image accordingly. Takes input and criticism well. Negative read: superficial phony obsessed with reputation and image.
BETE NOIRE: The NCAA rules and violations committee.
WE IMAGINE HIS FAVORITE PROFANITY IS..."golly," in public. In private? "Cocksucking faggot" might be one we could see darkside Tressel using.
PLAYER WHO CURSES HIS NAME: Maurice Clarett. Clarett went nuts his freshman season and, according to Clarett, was showered with Escalades and other freebies Tressel allegedly shook loose for the back. Clarett got injured and a series of misadventures and total idiocy on Clarett's part ended with his departure from the school. Clarett went on to run a 8.3 in the 40 and got cut by an NFL team where a one-legged back could gain 500 yards in a season.
FASHION FAUX PAS: The sweatervest, compounded by the wearing of short sleeve shirts in hot weather with it. The playing jersey for the uptight white man, Tressel's choice of outerwear is all you really need to now about him. Functional. Goes well with a tie and formal jacket. Kind of dorky. Itchy. Looks bad in informal situations, and doesn't quite cover up everything that needs covering. Good fashion defense, but doesn't make much of a statement. Kinda churchy and Ned Flandersish.
IF HE WERE A CRIMINAL HE'D BE...a church rector caught with one hand in the donations box and the other in the pastor's wife's pants.
WHO WE'RE ROOTING FOR: There's a lot to dislike about Mack Brown, but as first-rate bullshitters ourselves, we see a bit of kindred spirit there. Look at his record in big games, too: he's clearly the underdog here. There's no way we can root for Cheatypants Sweatervest, though; we're convinced Tressel cheats flagrantly, and no amount of preachy preppiedom on his part can undo that conviction. EDSBS will, with our hands clamped firmly around our nose, choose to root for Mack Brown and Texas in a likely loss to OSU at the Shoe this weekend.