We’re at the absolute nadir of the college football calendar — it’s been almost five months since any of us were able to watch a new game, and we’re still two and a half months away from play starting back up.
We’re desperate for a hit.
I’d take anything at this point. A Thursday night AAC game. A Conference USA tilt between two bottom-dwellers. A Tennessee game. I’d watch anything.
This got me to thinking, as I do: what would make the most unwatchable game possible? Well, it’s time to try. In the grand spirit of internet challenges, I’m giving you $15 to construct the worst, most god-awful, absolutely unwatchable college football game possible. And I bet you, here in early June as we are, that I’d still watch at least half of it.
It’s not just enough for these teams to be bad. They’ve got to be bad, bleak, and play an utterly uninspiring, mirth-free form of football. Take Arkansas, for instance. They were terrible last year, going 2-10. But they’re Arkansas, and they’ve still got some chaos demons lurking around the program, so you never know when something wacky, fun and terrible might happen with them. They are not on this list.
Also, we’re going to need two teams here, so I’ll halve the prices.
$2 Oregon State
Note: if you end up with $0.50 left, you can add in “both teams are bowl banned”
Even if the teams are bad, you’ve still got the joy and tradition of a college football gameday experience, though, right? NOPE. We’re taking these teams out of their home environments and putting them somewhere sterile, lifeless, and absolutely devoid of excitement
$2 UCF’s Spectrum Stadium, the crowd will be constantly reminded that both of the teams playing are in a major conference and UCF is not (note: if selected, UConn will be placed in the ACC)
$3 Marlins Park
$4 Michigan Stadium, but tickets are only sold to the fans of the teams playing and so it’s only people willing to pay to travel to Ann Arbor to see the game, there will be no one else there
$5 Levi’s Stadium
III. WHAT CHANNEL IS IT AIRING ON?
Sometimes you’ll watch a game just because it’s on ESPN or ABC, right? The noon game isn’t always a winner, but you’ve got broadcast-level production values. Again, no. You’re going to have to really scan the channel guide to find this, and there will be three cameras.
$1 CBS SPORTS NETWORK
$2 THE ACC NETWORK
$4 SoonerSports.TV, it’s a pay-per-view game and you’re paying Oklahoma
$5 SOMEONE’S JUST TEXTING YOU CLIPS SHOT ON AN IPHONE 4S
Even a lousy game can turn into something enjoyable in the hands of a capable announcing team; they’ll tell fun stories, bring drama to the right moments, and make for an overall pleasant listening experience. None of that is an option here.
$1 Gus Johnson and he’s going to call it like it’s overtime in the national championship
$2 Tommy Tuberville and Lou Holtz
$3 Two announcers who usually work NFL games and don’t know anything about college football so they’re just going to talk about the tension between Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers most of the time. They will also spend 10 minutes talking about Tim Tebow, though.
$4 ABC’s NBA crew for some reason? But Mike Breen’s sick. You’re only getting Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.
$5 Your uncle Dave, who does not watch college football regularly and still thinks Florida State and Notre Dame are the best teams, and he’s gonna spend a lot of the broadcast talking about how Joe Paterno got a raw deal
V. WILD CARD ROUND
Now let’s just spice it up with some random modifiers, because if there’s one lesson to take away from living in 2019, it’s “there’s no reason you can’t make something that’s already bad much worse”. To wit:
$1 They just installed new turf and it didn’t take and no one can get a good footing
$2 It decides a division title even though both teams are very bad, one of them’s going to have to play in a conference championship game that they’re obviously going to lose
$3 Six starters from each team were suspended the day before the game for their involvement in an illegal cockfighting ring; we’re getting a lot of unprepared backups
$4 The head coaches were both fired hours before gametime and now Greg Schiano and Randy Edsall are serving as interim coaches and the players have not bought in
$5 Ohio State’s superfans are there for no reason but they’re every bit as excited as normal and they’re going to be on camera a lot
Okay, I’m putting it in your hands. Make a terrible game.