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Tonight's matchup between Maryland and West Virginia is compelling because it is Thursday, there is football on, and you have nothing else to do but sit and twitch and think about BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD. Yet there remain many other powerful reasons to watch the game, too:

--Vrrrooooomm. Pat White and Steve Slaton continue their work as the best sales team imaginable for the spreadbone West Virginia offense (both averaging over 100+ yards a game,) and ran giddily through Maryland's slow-twitch defense last year. Maryland has played Villanova and Florida International, who seem fearsome enough to make the L.A. Times pronounce their defense as improved. We outran a toddler last night for a chicken finger someone dropped at a restaurant--sign us up for the Olympic 200x200, counselor.

--Ralph Friedgen's improbable survival as the last remaining member of the Troll race.

--The sound of Ron Franklin, the voice of college football. Oh, wait...

--Numerous mentions of how Friedgen revoked Slaton's scholarship offer, and how it motivates a man who already can run a 4.3 through almost any defense in the land to do exactly what he does against everyone else, anyway.

--Jordan Steffy's preteen girl name. He should play in a midriff shirt and squeal when he completes passes with an unfortunate moniker like that. We think we went to school with a Jordan Steffy, who was of course hounded from school as "Jordan Stiffy." Or she was abducted by gypsies. We can't remember; they all get mixed up in our memory, they do...

--Rich Rodriguez's anger. The camera manages to always catch one good shot of Rodriguez acting like he just realized he's got a dirty diaper or something.

You could also listen in on the outstanding Football Outsiders' podcast with special guest us covering the week's games and picking them against the spread. We bet on Dan Hawkins upsetting Florida State after he rides Ralphie into the stadium while shooting apples off cheerleaders' heads with the skill of a Zen archer--even more so if Hawkins misses and shoots a cheerleader in the head with one, which he did intentionally just to prove how serious he is.

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Under 48 hours until the Hate Bowl. Even orange shoes can't help Tennessee where they're going.