[6am Saturday morning]
MY WIFE: Honey
WIFE: Honey, wake up. Wake up. I heard a noise out in the yard.
ME: I’m sure it’s nothing. Probably just those dickhead neighbor kids up early again.
WIFE: Can you go check?
ME: It’s fine.
WIFE: Go check.
[I stagger to my feet, shuffle to the front door, and open it]
RECE DAVIS: This mid-century raised ranch in the inner suburbs has seen a number of Saturday mornings, but never one like this
BIG & RICH: WE’LL WE’VE COME IN / TO YOUR FRONT YARD / WE COULD’VE GONE TO PENN STATE BUT SCREW ‘EM / WE PUT A BIG STAGE ON YOUR GARDEN COME ALONG
ME: come again
THOSE RAPPERS IN THE SONG: YOU KNOW ESPN IS PUTTIN’ IN THAT WORK / WE’RE GOING NEW PLACES LIKE A BUNCH OF JERKS / WE’LL DO A SHOW RIGHT FROM TIMES SQUARE, BUT YOU MENTION WAZZU, AND WE’RE LIKE I’M SORRY, WHERE
ME: okay the rapping is bad but they’re giving good exposition
BIG & RICH: PUT A LITTLE ZING IN YOUR TING-TANG COME AROUND
ME: Still don’t know what that means, though.
ANNOUNCER: College Gameday, live from some dickhead’s front lawn in suburban Kentucky, is built by the Home Depot
RECE DAVIS: We’re glad to have you here, on this Week 8 of the college football season, when we’ve finally lost our minds when it comes to locations. I’m Rece Davis, alongside Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and Lee Corso.
DESMOND HOWARD: [smiles, laughs]
LEE CORSO: [smiling and laughing at my neighbor’s lawn gnome]
KIRK HERBSTREIT: [snapping branches off my tree] You know, this guy should be glad we’re here. This yard is a dump.
ME: That’s not nice, Kirk.
HERBSTREIT: I AM BEING HARRASSED AND I AM MOVING NOW
CORSO [still chuckling]: It’s like a tiny person! In the lawn! Look at that hat! [claps]
ME: Can somebody please, for the love of god, explain what’s happening here.
DAVIS: We got tired of people thinking they’d know where we’re going in a given week! We’re thinking outside the box. Earlier this year, we went to Times Square, the literal least-interested-in-college-football place in America! Last week, we went to James Madison again, despite multiple viable FBS scenarios! Next week, we’re going to be at a Houston Astros game!
ME: What about Washington State? Couldn’t you just finally go there after 15 years of them asking you nicely? I mean, they’re ranked in the top 10 and have a home game against Color-
DAVIS: We’ve gotta cut you off there, we’re going live to Tom Rinaldi in your backyard
RINALDI: This backyard hasn’t been mowed in nearly two weeks. But through the weeds and the fallen leaves, a solitary figure remains, chasing a dream. This is Holly, the corgi who calls this backyard home. She’s no stranger to college football - the owner of this house used to use her as filler when he couldn't come up with topical angles for college football blog posts. But those days are few and far between now.
HOLLY THE CORGI: He used to take 20 pictures of me a day, that’s how he could keep the content going. Then he had kids, and now he takes pictures of them.
RINALDI: And what does that make you think?
HOLLY: It makes me think he looks like a guy who’d talk to a stranger on a plane about fantasy football.
RINALDI: [nodding somberly]
HOLLY: Like a guy who plans a vacation to St. Louis
RINALDI: [nodding somberly] [hey look there’s the Wazzu flag]
HOLLY: Like Peter Parker got bit by a radioactive tax attorney
ME: Tom why are you letting this happen
HOLLY: Like if Prince Charles had a third son who wasn’t raised rich
RINALDI: [nodding] he’s not attractive
HOLLY: Like a sitcom dad, but not the main character. Like the neighbor dad who tells Kevin James “heck of a mess you got there, buddy” or something.
ME: Alright, I’m calling the cops, everyone get out of-
HOLLY: Like if a Kia Soul came with a free person
DAVIS: Alright, you all know what time it is, let’s make some picks. First up, we’ve got a matchup of ranked American Conference teams, with the UCF Knights visiting Annapolis to take on Navy. Dez?
HOWARD: Rece, UCF’s been on a roll, I think they’re gonna keep going.
DAVIS: Next up, it’s the Third Saturday in October, top-ranked Alabama hosts the Vols, is Tennessee’s Butch Jones on the hot seat, Kirk? Whaddya think?
HERBSTREIT: [has torn out our flowers and is salting the ground] I don’t even know this guy, but I have to do this.
DAVIS: Great stuff. Finally, tonight’s top matchup-
ME: Michigan at Penn State?
DAVIS: This guy who’s yard we’re in is going to be attacked by a flock of migrating Canadian geese, Coach, what do you think’s gonna happen?
ME: How you could possibly know that
CORSO: I TELL YOU WHAT, [reaches under desk]
ME: None of this felt necessary.
HOLLY: PECK HIS EYES OUT, GORD