More commentary scrapple from the college football weekend. Mix it with some eggs and hot sauce, and you can barely taste the snout and hooves.
--ARN Bowl! The increasingly less compelling matchup between Alabama and Auburn has dried to a fine, wrinkled raisin of what it once was thanks to Tommy Tuberville's annually renewed lease on Alabama's soul. Both teams sort of pawed ineffectively at each other for most of the game; in fact, were we to pick a unit that actually emerged as a difference maker, it wouldn't so much be the Auburn defensive line (where Quentin Groves again proved that eight-foot-long arms are, yes, very good to have when playing football) as it was the Alabama offensive line. They tipped off Auburn defenders on every single play by obviously leaning up or down or refusing to place weight on their down hand, which sent Auburn lineman into a blood frenzy on passing plays as they sped around sludgefooted Tide lineman and forced two sacks.
One of these--not pictured below--was a tackle by the neck that the lineman should have tattooed on his chest, so shameful was its negligence. Less a sack and more of a choke slam, it should be in the offensive line's primer as what happens when you allow a frontside rusher to shiv you in one move. John Parker Tanner Cody Jenners Wilson getting up from it should have been a statistic all by itself.
Negligence. Sheer negligence. A DE with eight foot telescoping arms helps, too.
--One more Coach-Shula-as-contractable-retardation bit: the biggest offensive wrinkle Alabama added in the second half came in the form of putting Jimmy Johns under center and sending him straight up the middle.
Adjustment for Shula became taking Houston Nutt's leftovers and putting them in a blander form. How sad this is cannot properly be stated; this is also true of the fact that despite the clanking noise Alabama's offense has been making ever since The Prothrolling last year, Joe Kines has been writing his magnum opus and bankrolling the resume of his much younger, less ept superior. Coach Boomhauer is Alabama's sole lifeline at this point to the world of winning. Dispense with Fire Shula notions, though; there's no one out there mad/desperate/loyal/talented enough to take the job and do any better with the current tool set this year.
--Notre Dame beats Army, leaving only the Coast Guard left to defend America. It's official now: when you win, the terrorists win.
--Speaking of sad--um, we meant totally ecstatically joyous, actually--there's Miami getting bossed by Virginia on Fourth Year Fifths Saturday. Is Major Applewhite the offensive coordinator for Miami? Or perhaps Jeff Bowden working under a pseudonym? We know it's old Erickson crony Rich Olson, but the adamantium wall of club-wrecking badass that used to protect Miami's qbs couldn't block a herd of dachshunds now, an ineffectiveness remiscent of some of the greats of deplorable offense: Kentucky '94, FSU '06, Washington '04...ah, the great ones you never forget, but the bad ones leave branded marks on your soul. (It would be hard to win the battle of low with dachshunds, though--chop blocking would be damn near impossible.)
Virginia pounded Miami into shame splinters on the final drive of the game, running off four plus minutes of the clock and denying them any real shot at re-entering the game. Al Groh's team looked downright muscular in shutting them down. Like cold-blooded hitmen, actually. Like they were...cold as ice, actually
FORCED MUSICAL INTERLUDE BASED ON THE FACT THAT AL GROH'S FAVORITE BAND IS FOREIGNER, ACCORDING TO KIRK HERBSTREIT DURING THE UNC/VIRGINIA GAME:
Lou Gramm looks like he's just been pulled out of a rotisserie cooker, no? But Al's rocking in his sleeveless shirt to this as we speak.
--Rutgers reached our theoretical Talent Limit, which is the exact point at which a team exhausts any and all potential for consistently good play in a single game. Seeing Rutgers come back from certain death vs. Louisville, you could see Schiano the driver hitting the nitrous and exhausting every last bit of talent on the roster/engine of the team. It was a beautiful power slide while it lasted.
They're spent now, and their quarterback has turned into a benevolent interception monkey, handing them out left and right to every needy DB. (Look at their faces! They're overjoyed--thank you, benevolent interception monkey.) They'll pick up an ugly one versus South Florida, but facing a mean and very together West Virginia team whose weakness is pass defense means Rutgers finishes with two losses, since they're playing miserable air ball right now. Not the fever dream scenario of Rutgers fans dreams, but 10-2 makes happy at all but the sickest of football factories. (Urban, you're included there.)
--The USC Song Girls have a great, shameless dance move. Rather than doing the Matrix, breaking it down, or riding an imaginary donkey, Song Girls just take a page from The Man Show's old playbook: they raise their arms, cheer, and shake their breasts side to side with jiggling "USC" oscillating back and forth. The camera at the Cal game caught the Trojan jiggle at least four times. We wonder when Mark May is going to pop up and wonder out loud iif USC's combined jigglage makes up "the best line up of sweater meat ever," prompting Beano Cook's eventual gripe that Russell and Monroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes beat even a five-woman strong '06 Song Girls unit.
If the debate happens, we're on your side, Beano.
--USC/Cal was tied 9-9 going into the fourth, we believe. We translate root meaning of everything said about this game into regional dialect:
West Coast:See? We can play defense! Low scores are fun and exotic from time to time.
South/Texas/Midwest: This is supposed to be Pac-10 football? Don't the games start at 9-9? SEC/Big 12 roolz!!!
Eastern Seaboard: This is the best freaking team I've ever seen. They totally need to play Notre Dame. That would be so awesome. After all, they only lost to the Patriots, right? And Brady Quinn is so going to kick ass in the playoffs. Wait, there aren't playoffs? What the fuck, man? Hey, the Knicks are on...
It was a soporific effort by both teams. USC does that thing they do very well of playing badly, yet pulling out six or seven plays you simply cannot counter in breaking pace and forcing Cal to throw from behind. (Yep, just wrote "throw from behind" in association with a Bay Area team. We're cool like that.) And they're shockingly bad at it. USC blitzed Longshore stupid, waited on the draws and screens, and generally showed that Cal is in the state of program adolescence we thought it was still in.
USC's past credit is such that getting to a national title game will be a certainty, and a significant bulwark of that argument comes thanks to their thunderous defeat of Arkansas on Sept. 2nd. If you had told us this was going to decide one half of the national championship equation in August, we would have called you a drooling bastard liardog. If you foresaw this and would like to crow, we will still call you a drooling bastard liardog in the comments section below.
--Kentucky Wildcats: bowl eligible. Woo-shah! They narrowly beat UL-Monroe, 42-40, but when you've been the uniformed embodiment of suck for so long you count them all like cherished heirlooms. Kentucky's AD must look like a total genius right now, since he sat through three seasons of hell with a less-than-charismatic coach who most people expected to see fired at the end of last season. They play Tennessee next. This is where a person would make an irresponsible prediction about Tennessee overlooking a very good, precise passer like Andre Woodson. This is where we'll do that right now.
WOOOOO! Kentucky over Tennessee next weekend! Go get 'em, Wildcats, and remember what your coach said: You guys have got to do your fucking job!!! I can't believe this shit!!!
p.s. Try to watch a player's imitation of Rich Brooks below and come away not liking him a little. We dare you.