The Lou Holtz/Mark May experiment is hitting a wall here--one we're happy to see dented by the eventual rhetorical demolition derby that will result. For the first few weeks, May took it easy on his new, cheating hypocrite of a broadcast partner: nodding appropriately whenever Lou made a painfully obvious point ("Arkansas's really gonna come to play versus USC, blah blah blah blah,") piggybacking politely off of Lou's speech defect-laden analysis.
This weekend, for the first time, May tried to peel the sardine can of madness that is Holtz by finally challenging his assertion that Florida showed its ass in allowing Kentucky--the same team that gave up 35 points in the second quarter of Saturday's game versus Florida--to roll up 21 points against Florida's backups in the second half of the game. While we're not exactly poring over the transcripts of the broadcast like a Talmudic scholar, we remember the exchange going something like this:
NOTE!!! Everything you're about to read is crap. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. In the comments below, you'll see that our intelligent and forgiving readers corrected our meth-addled memory of the exchange: it was Holtz defending Florida, NOT May. In the haze of our joy at another Florida victory, we forgot that May is, in the words of reader Bill, "a fucking douchebag," and was trashing any praise of Florida based on a victory against Kentucky. We were wrong, wrong, wrong. With that clarified, the rest of the article sort of makes sense. But it's crap nonetheless. To quote Willy Wonka:
We have so much time, and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it.
We give ourselves the inaugural Trev Alberts Award for the week for crapulent analysis.
You get it wrong, you get...The Trev! Now, on with the train-wreck that is this piece:
Mark May (complete with disturbing vagina-stache): "The Gators finally found their rhythm against the Kentucky Wildcats. Chris Leak threw and ran the ball with authority, the defense stepped up, and they're firing on all cylinders going into their matchup with Alabama next week."
Leprechaun McProbationman: "Oh, Mark, but Florida really let Kentucky back into this game, those backups--whew!--they've got some depth issues there."
May: "Lou, it was Kentucky and they were up by 42 points."
McProbationman: "Hey, that Kentucky squad really moved the ball once they..."
May: "IT WAS...KENTUCKY!!!"
McProbationman: (pounding his fist on the desk like a dessicated Mussolini) "THEY'VE GOT TO FINISH GAMES! THEY PUT THEIR FIRST TEAM OFFENSE BACK IN IN THE FOURTH! THEY'VE..." (remarks between May and Holtz made incomprehensible in the din of Holtz pounding the table.)
Lou Holtz: creeping madness.
A couple of wonderful things happened in the thirty seconds or so of that exchange. First, May finally got sick of Lou Holtz pulling the football Yoda act and got bitch-snippy with him. Bravo--Holtz has been sketchy on the show, speaking so softly and indistinctly that we hit the volume button every time he starts talking, usually only to find him tossing out pablum about "don't understimate this team" and "they've really got to come to play." And unlike the ersatz hostility ESPN seems to encourage between their pundits in every other sport, this seemed real--the only other real displays of hostility being whenever Stephen A. Smith interacts with anyone else on the network.
Second: Lou finally let his "red dog" loose on national television. There's a passage in A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe where a normally meek accountant ditches his married guy, 2 kids and a mortgage life by engaging in crazed embezzlement from his floundering company all while bedding a hot Finnish mistress. It all ends badly, of course, but the phrase Wolfe uses to describe the moment a normally sane person lets their inner dog off the chain is "letting the red dog loose," referencing a particularly malevolent shade of pit bull.
May and Holtz: muzzles off!
Lou Holtz the commentator and pricey public speaker bears little resemblance to Lou Holtz the coach--often caught swearing a blue streak into the hair of a player who fumbles or misses an assignment by network cameras, but disappearing behind the "aw-shucks" poor-mouther facade at the presser or the ESPN interview. Lou was pissed that May would challenge him, and he let his red dog loose by pounding the table like a maniac as May attempted to talk over him. He looked a little like Nikita Kruschchev pounding his shoe on the table at the U.N. , revealing the red dog coach behind so many instant fixes of dysfunctional programs and the scruples-deficient competitor who never met a corner he wouldn't cut in the name of a prize recruit.
Three: we swear that Mark May almost dropped a "fucking" on national tv. This close, we swear, just as he was saying "BUT IT WAS FFFFF....er....KENTUCKY!!!" The end of his career? Oh, sure. Would have totally been worth it in our book, as he would have become one of EDSBS' commentators-for-life, joining with a drunken Brent Musberger on play-by-play and Rick Flair on color commentary in our hypothetical booth. (The sideline reporter? Sarah Samantha Bee from The Daily Show)