A is for ADD: If we didn't have it going into this weekend, we certainly have it coming out of the media overload. Saturday began with round-robin spinning of the channels between Michigan/Notre Dame, Miami/Louisville, and LSU/Auburn. The rotation became a little easier when Michigan put the game out of reach, which seemed to happen sometime in the first five minutes, leaving Tom Hammond to twiddle his thumbs and spend the better part of three quarters constructing hopeless comeback scenarios for the Irish.
The evening got worse: we went to a bar where even our laserlike focus on Gators/Vols was interrupted by the presence of thirty thousand televisions showing flickering images of Dwayne Jarrett embarrassing Nebraska DBs, Jeff Bowden calling the 'Noles into the ground against Clemson, and North Carolina nearly dropping a game to Furman. If we didn't need Strattera before this weekend, we're filling our scrips today.
B is for Bombardment, as in Naval. Huzzah to Navy: 37-9 over Stanford in the opening of their new stadium, which they promptly leveled with 367 yards rushing. Adam catches the announcer in the greatest on-air comment of the weekend:
12:28- The announcer just made reference to the song "Feels like the First Time," for the opening of Stanford's new stadium. He then proceeded to say, "the first time hurts." Awkward silence ensues.
All this was made better by the fact that Bill Walsh was calling the game and refused to give Navy an iota of credit. Walsh later returned home to find his home demolished by a cruise missile.
Bill Walsh returns to find his car..."appreciated" by Navy fans.
C is for Crapulent, as in officiating. See Bob Stoops. At least in the Florida/UT game the bad officiating landed fairly evenly (SEC officiating: if you're gonna call it wrong, just make sure it's all wrong!) Oregon rolled three sevens in a row, luckwise, landing onside kicks, pass interference calls, and caught a fly with a pair of chopsticks on the way to beating Oklahoma on some of the shakiest calls ever backed up by even worse replay work. Only missing from the scene: the refs exiting the field, slipping on banana peels in unison, and then each backing out in unison into each others bumpers in wacky fashion. Cue instant karma for Oregon, who will have something equally grievous befall them somewhere down the line, like a player running into a suddenly gaping pit of fire on the way to a sure touchdown or other act of god.
D is for Doink. John Vaughn, Chris Hetland, Paul Martinez...all three had abysmal weekends at the game's most loathed position. At least Martinez made a kick that bounced off the crossbar and in for a field goal. Of course, he's also the only one of the three who lost their game. John Vaughn will never kick against LSU again, which just added five years to his life expectancy.
E is for Entropy. Hope springs eternal in football, and for some of the most sinister reasons, included the dreaded 'e' word, entropy. Keeping the dust off a machine like the Miami Hurricanes requires a surgeon's precision combined with a manic salesman's knack for gauging the sell to recruits. At this point, evidence points to Larry Coker being just a competent, earnest mechanic, because all Miami's ranks are broke, and they lay driven on the field. The fifteen people who mourn this, please take a moment of silence for yourselves; the remainder of Hurricane fans can switch hats and go root for another team. We hear Michigan's pretty hot this year--perhaps they'll do.
F is for Flan. Egg Custard doesn't get enough credit these days. Not football related, but we just thought flan deserved a shout-out, since we're pretty sure Trick Daddy will never give it one.
Flan. It's good.
G is for Galling, as in the performance of the ACC as a whole. FSU and Miami are twin Romes burning, Clemson's sketchy, UNC is mediocrity, powder-blue variety, Wake Forese, Duke...only Virginia Tech looks solid through all three phases of the game, and even they'll do something late to blow their cover. (They almost always do.) Worst loss comes via the 2006 usual suspect: USM slaughtered NC State at home, and Chuck Amato reaches deep in the bag of condescending sunshine for this one:
"We're starting a new season. Those kids are pretty cranked up."
If he means excited, well, take his word, we suppose. But if he means zonked on crystal meth, that definitely can't be true, since NC State hasn't played with anything close to the enthusiasm of a opium eater, much less a meth addict.
H is for Humble. Watching Lloyd Carr following his team outclassing Notre Dame was outright moving. A podium; a man looking fresh from a shower, dressed in slightly rumpled clothes, standing in front of flashbulbs, cameras, and the collected eyes of a few hundred people and looking completely and pleasantly dumbfounded at the performance of his team. Carr earned great soul points for his genuine awe at Michigan's game and his player's maxing out their potential in the span of two quarters. It began at the half, when Carr seemed near speechless at his team's piston-blowing execution of the gameplan, and continued through post-game when Carr gave his players and coaches total credit for the masterpiece without a counterfeit sentiment for false note. Carr had the look of a man whose head had been down so long at the yoke he couldn't understand just what he'd plowed through to get there. To see that, a 62 year old stunned by the effort and commitment of a crew of 18-22 year olds on his behalf, had to warm even the most grizzled and Lloyd Carrish of hearts.
I is for I-formation. Florida trotted out conventional formations, double TE sets, and even the maligned speed option play against Tennessee as the Florida gameplan confounded Tennessee's expectations in their victory over the Volunteers. Florida showed ballet moves in the first two games and showed up with track shoes on, running the ball 38 times to only 26 pass plays, a curveball given Florida's pass-happy attack in the first two games this season. The game-clinching play came not on a wacky five wide pass, but on a simple toss play on 3rd and 6 that Deshawn Wynn picked up by a hair.
J is for Jimbo Fisher, the LSU offensive coordinator who saw no reason to test Auburn's secondary deep despite having an ICBM-tossing quarterbeast under center, decent protection, and two dominating, thick armed receivers all-too-happy to bow up against a corner. Two things about Fisher mystify the observer:
1. His insistence on being called "Jimbo" as an adult, and...
2. His mercurial offense, which sometimes thrashes good opponents and sometimes turns to vapor in flurry of elaborate, unfulfilled scheming.
K is for Knowledgeable, which Gary Danielson Paul Maguire and Bob Griese personified on Saturday while broadcasting the Miami Louisville game. He was They were snatching stolen brainwaves from the Petrino brothers and elucidating their dismemberment plan for Miami with aplomb.
They actually were fantastic, even Paul Maguire, the current standard-bearer for "universally despised" among NFL viewers. Both announcers diagnosed very early on that Miami was in real trouble, long before the score caught up with what they were seeing.
L is for "lowly," which is what ESPN described Colorado as in a headline this week. L also stand for lowlife, loser, legendarily bad accountant, and lame, which may also describe Gary Barnett's sense of "vindication" at watching Colorado struggle. Classy, jackass.
M is for Manningham. 4 receptions, 137 yards receiving, 3 TDs. Also doled out hardest hit a Michigan player took all day when he decked a clarinet player in the stands. Perhaps Notre Dame should have noted the glowing white impact player circle beneath him--that always gives it away.
N is for Null, the set describing the number of points scored against UGA's defense this season. None.
O is for Obstruct, as in TCU's bonafide obstruction of the Texas Tech offense, holding them to three measly points. Gary Patterson now officially picks up the Meyer/Hawkins/Franchione BCS buster Hott Koach '06 beanie, which he will wear until poached by a larger program in the offseason.
Purple body paint. Comes right off with paint thinner. Unfortunately, so does your skin.
P is for Point Five seconds, roughly the slim interval of time in which a single, well composed defense falls to pieces against the run play of West Virginia. Herbstreit seemed to be jumping up and down in his chair when explaining the 'Eers glorified triple option to the viewers, and Maryland played willing cannon fodder for the experiment by leaning two steps to the right before Steve Slaton jetted left and through elegantly empty contours through the defense.
Q stands for Querulous, an apt word for Nebraska's second half gameplan against USC. Composure and commitment to the game plan is one thing, but the 'Huskers might blame faulty intelligence on this one, since they behaved as if they were squatting on a forty point lead at home instead of being down by largish numbers on the road. Bill Callahan might have just been finishing out the final phase of a fugue state under the pressure of an impending matchup with the Trojans: first he channels the genteel, poor-mouthing spirit of Tom Osborne in an interview with Rece Davis on Thursday night, then he apes the 2005 Gator two minute offense by dinking down the field and refusing to even try to play catchup with USC.
R stands for Robot. The robot is Troy Smith, whose blood has been replaced with antifreeze. Poise doesn't quite cover the aura that he's had early in the season. Someone pointed out that Smith hasn't even begun to run yet, which he will as soon as Tressel inputs the right code. Until then he'll continue to wreck defenses from the pocket at will. Too bad that Ted Ginn's borne out preseason predictions about being a total flop without Santonio Holmes....
S stands for Sandwich. Fulmer's always got the good stuff in the fridge.
21-20: a tasty sandwich indeed, Tony Joiner.
T stands for Tebow, the barrel-chested fullback masquerading as a quarterback who nailed down essential yardage for Florida on 4th and short in the Tennessee game. Eighteen? Appearing in your third game? Barely able to wash your own clothes and thumbing through your Intro to Geology textbook? Sounds ready to win a game to me. Meyer's confidence in his players--even the toddlers like Tebow and Harvin--astonishes. More astonishing still was Tennessee's reluctance to crowd the box when even Randy Sanders could have told you what was coming on thsoe short yardage plays: biscuit boy up the middle for a first down.
U stands for Urrutia, as in Mario. The wideout became the chief implement of torture for the Petrino brothers against Miami, catching precision posts on play-action and splitting the defense for critical yardage on Saturday. Proof that Bobby and Paul only own bean bag chairs to protect their enormous balls? Brohm goes out, backup Cantwell goes in, and the first play is a play-action strike right between Miami's safeties for a first down. Balls.
V stands for Victors, as in March of. Heard to the point of memorization on Saturday. The noise should, for Notre Dame fans, cause explosive and instantaneous vomiting this morning.
W is for WTF, as in Army almost beating Texas A&M. Franchione came within a failed fullback run of being employed by West Texas Trucking College. Army's tough--err, they are in the Army, after all--but the academy teams' recent run of stoutness against quality teams doesn't fully explain just how fragile this A&M team has become under Franchione.
X is for Xavier Lee, the new starter at qb for FSU. Bowden hinted at it after Drew Weatherford struggled to top a hundred yards against Clemson. Future scapegoats for vile Bowden nepotism to include Lee, offensive line coach, Jenn Sterger, the law firm of Holland and Knight, Gene Deckerhoff, and the entire city of Caracas, Venezuela, who've been doing absolutely nothing to ensure the continued success of FSU football.
Y is for Yay! The greatest day of college football we can remember, capped with Florida emerging as a cohesive, tough unit on the road. The rest after this is just gravy. But we'll take gallons of that, too, and so will our friend Coach Mangino, who no doubt needs it after losing to Toledo.
Z is for Zyzygy. The alignment of planets, as in:
--Florida State and Miami both tanking it while Florida wins.
--ESPN Gameday getting "their game of the week" delivered to them in a one-sided, poorly executed burrito of boring covered in somambulent salsa.
--Tommy Tuberville caught visibly sweating for the first time on camera in something like thre years.
--[NAME REDACTED] delivering an elbow to the chest of one of his players. (Please, we know this happened sometime in the second quarter of the game but can't get the footage. If you have it, send it to us and you'll have our eternal respect, which has no actual cash value.)
--Tennessee lost. To us. In Neyland.
--Tennessee lost. To us. In Neyland.