Rice Is Rolling Over in His Grave

Dedicated to Mocking Bad Sports Writing

College Football Is Destroying This Country

Posted by biggusrickus on September 17, 2008

Fortunately, there’s a man…no, there’s a hero championing justice and righteousness, and perhaps saving our very freedoms in the process. You may remember him for his good works in taking on perfidious bloggers. His name is Buzz Bissinger. You may have read his book about trying to score weed on Friday nights or something like that (I never read it). Whatever. The point is, he’s turned his bile spewing on the college football world, and we’re all a little worse off for it.

EDSBS touched on it on Friday. But there’s so much more wrong with it. Take it from the top Buzz:

It’s a couple of weeks ago and I am watching the Alabama-Clemson football game.

Timely.

It’s a pretty good contest, actually.

As a hater of all things orange I enjoy watching Clemson get dominated as much as anyone, but this was not a pretty good contest. It was a thorough ass-kicking.

The Crimson Tide is in the groove against a Top 10 team. But that’s not what truly interests me.

For someone who purportedly enjoys sports this is a strange statement. You’re basically saying, “Fuck the game. I want to focus on the periphery.”

I am watching the fans in various states of rabidity, wondering how long it takes to wash all that school-color gunk off your body once you lacquer it on, not to mention what precisely motivates someone to apply such gunk in the first place.

I stopped wondering about that when I was about 14. Apparently, Buzz just can’t let it go.

I am watching the cheerleaders in their somersaults and squats of perfect synchronism with those slapped-on smiles.

Some of them could be genuinely happy and excited, performing for the crowd giving them a rush and all that. I’m cynical but damn.

I am just watching the crazy spectacle of it all — frenzy and bloodlust and the low rumble of moans and the high-pitch of screams.

Yeah, it is pretty awesome.

I wonder why we need any more studies showing our nation’s education system to be in the tank when all you have to do is attend a college football game.

Oh, that’s not where you were going with that. Apparently sports fandom is a uniquely American trait. Our new peculiar institution. Far be it from me to call a serious member of the media ignorant on a blog, but read a story about soccer riots you ignorant fucktard. 

There’s also the claim of a connection between a poor education and exuberance at an entertainment venue. You know how bad our education system must have been in the ’50s and ’60s because you can see the rapturous adoration of acts like Elvis and The Beatles in those old clips.

But mostly I am watching Nick Saban.

That’s just weird. I’ll skip past the stuff about Saban’s personality since EDSBS already covered it.

When I watch Nick Saban, it is hard for me to tell how much difference he is really making out there, notwithstanding the nervous pacing and urgent back-and-forth over the headphones.

Trust me. He’s making a difference, discussing strategy, trying to motivate players through chastisement or encouragement and so on. You wrote a book about Texas high school football and don’t know what coaches do during games? Knowing that, I’m kind of glad I never read it.

Despite the millions of pages that have been dedicated to the genius of the American college football coach, the game still seems quite wonderfully helter-skelter to me, ultimately determined by the successes and failures of the 22 players on the field who actually play it.

Again, this is just pure ignorance of the game. There’s gameplanning and grueling hours of practice to get eleven members of the offense to work in conjunction in order to advance the ball and eleven members on defense to work together to stop them from doing so. If it were helter-skelter then the coach who had the 22 best athletes on the field would always win. Such is not the case.

Does Bissinger really not know this or is he just pandering to those New York Times readers who look down upon sports fanatics as some sort of inbred mongoloids?

I get bored after a while. The spectacle wears off, and watching Nick Saban coach is about as much fun as watching a traffic cop conduct rush-hour traffic.

You could try watching the game. You know, the spectacle that is the central reason you’ve been able to watch Nick Saban on television?

But I still need my college football fix. So I do what has become my favorite pastime of late — I read the database of contracts for major college coaches compiled by USA Today.

Now this is just a bold-faced lie. Nobody’s favorite pastime is reading anything in USA today, let alone fucking contract details. And nobody who needs a football fix turns to contracts either. I think you’re full of shit, Buzz.

I read the one for Nick Saban, and it is a very good read, in particular for anyone who wants to know why the United States has become a second-rate nation and will remain so until we figure out what is important and what is not.

Second-rate in what regard? We have the largest GDP in the world. We live alone in spaces that many countries use to house entire families if not multiple families. Our system of higher education is widely considered the best in the world. Unemployment is low. We want for nothing in this country. Our poor people are fat for Christ’s sake. Get some perspective.

I learn that his pay this season, his second at ’Bama, is $3.75 million. Given that the average pay for a University of Alabama full professor is $116,000, that strikes me as a lot of money, even if all of it does come from revenues associated with athletics and not from state taxpayers. But the contract also makes it clear that the University of Alabama board of trustees don’t think $3.75 million is enough for Nick Saban. There need to be more perks. After all, he is the football coach.

What an original take on priorities. I’ve never heard this from anyone, ever, in my life. To give you an idea of how freash this take is, here’s a Bear Bryant quote on the difference in pay: “How many people watch you give a final exam? [About fifty is the reply.] Well, I have 50,000 watch me give mine – every Saturday!” This quote was attributed to him while he was coaching at Texas A&M, which was from 1954-57.

There’s a section about the Miami thing, which was necessary reading for no one. There’s also a lot of bitching about incentives and graduation rates and so on. This pretty much sums it up:

Alabama is 2-0 this season and currently ranked 11th in the Associated Press’s most recent poll, so the investment in Nick Saban may well pay out the dividend that Alabama is so desperately seeking in trying to restore itself to national prominence. Of course, the season is still young, and the fortunes of the Alabama team could still go in a downward spiral. Not that I think it will have much lasting impact on Nick Saban.

Because Saban’s an asshole who doesn’t care I presume. Which runs counter to that angry visage he permanently wears and you noticed while you were watching him instead of the football game.

If his team misses out on a big bowl game, he misses out on some hefty bonuses. But there will still be the country club membership. There will still be the use of the two automobiles for him and his family. There will still be the use of the non-commercial plane for 25 hours. All on top of the eight-year contract he signed for $32 million.

All of those things are paid for by the athletic department budget, which takes in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Buzz actually did point that fact out, but it doesn’t seem to make him any more understanding of the salary and perks.

All in the name of college football.

See?

Which is why Nick Saban should try to look a little happier on the sidelines. When you’re laughing all the way to the bank, you should at least be smiling.

See, he’s getting money for nothing. He doesn’t spend 80 hours a week coaching and breaking down tape and gameplanning. He doesn’t travel around trying to convince fickle 17 year olds to sign on with his program. He’s just down there watching the melee on the field, gesticulating and making jokes about the “student bodies” – if you know what he means – with the other coaches via his headset. It’s not as if there’s any pressure to win at Alabama. If only our priorities were straight.

Thanks Buzz. You’re doing God’s work.

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I’ve Been Baited

Posted by biggusrickus on September 16, 2008

But it’s just so shiny that I can’t resist. Georgia played an ugly football game against South Carolina on Saturday, which is surprising to exactly no one who has ever watched Georgia stumble through this game in most of its recent incarnations. Gregg Doyel is so surprised by this occurrence that he thinks Georgia should fall five spots in the polls for winning a game in an ugly fashion against a mediocre opponent. For some perspective, let’s list a few Georgia-South Carolina outcomes and the end results of Georgia’s seasons:

  • 2002: 13-7, Georgia. Season results: 13-1, SEC Championship, Sugar Bowl victory, no. 3 final ranking.
  • 2004: 20-16, Georgia. Season results: 10-2, Capital One Bowl victory, no. 6 final ranking.
  • 2005: 17-15, Georgia. Season results: 10-3, SEC Championship, Sugar Bowl loss, no. 10 final ranking.
  • 2007: 16-12, South Carolina. Season results: 11-2, Sugar Bowl victory, no. 2 final ranking.

Perspective. The South Carolina game has been indicative of nothing during the Richt years. Now onto the column.

National ranking biggest issue for overrated Bulldogs

No, it’s the biggest issue for you regarding the Bulldogs. They were probably cool with being ranked second.

There’s a problem with Georgia, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. That’s the good news.

That’s a relief.

The problem is more fundamental than Georgia’s bad group of receivers,

based on a sample size of one game.

bad pass coverage

Can’t really argue there.

and bad play-calling.

Based, again, on a one game sample.

Georgia is ranked No. 2 in the country. That’s the problem.

Oh, SNAP! Man, is my face red. I thought you were going one way, and you completely fucking flipped it on me. This is good sportswriting.

But it’s a fixable problem.

Phew.

It can be rectified as soon as Sunday night when coaches and media make their newest Top 25 polls and drop the Bulldogs like a left hook to the jaw. 

Seems like an overly violent simile there. I assume this is a boxing metaphor or something, so in the vein, considering your argument later that they should be dropped to seventh isn’t this kind of an overstatement? Seventh is not “out for the count” or whatever people say about boxing. Also, and forgive my ignorance as a non-fighter, but do left hooks always drop people?

South Carolina almost made it easy on pollsters by landing a haymaker of its own,

More boxing. Can’t we get some good war metaphors in here? That’s the norm for football after all.

but Georgia bobbed and weaved and avoided being knocked out of the BCS championship picture with a season-saving 14-7 victory Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

That’s it. I’m creating a “boxing metaphors” tag. (RIROHG: Ripping off Fire Joe Morgan since its inception).

If Georgia’s victory was season-saving doesn’t that undercut your drop-in-the-polls-like-someone-hit-them-really-hard-in-the-jaw thing from earlier? Is it season-saving or season-killing? Does CBS employ anyone who can write down ideas in any sort of coherent manner?

Now it’s up to voters to do the right thing and smack Georgia in the mouth.

Again, this seems a touch on the ultraviolent side. Can’t they just give them a stern warning, or put them in timeout or something? I get the feeling that Gregg Doyel is a drunk and abusive husband and dad.

Say, by dropping the Bulldogs to somewhere like seventh.

Seventh? That’s a slap on the wrist, easily correctible later on. If you want to smack them in their metaphorical mouths you need to take them off of your ballot completely. That’ll teach them to play a shitty game early in the season. Much like a woman, they probably won’t learn though. Am I right, Gregg?

But there’s a problem with the polls, and it’s something that rarely gets fixed. That’s the bad news.

😦

Nobody likes to admit they were wrong, certainly not until they have no other choice, and pollsters are no different.

Well, sure. Rational people also don’t change their minds about things based on small sample sizes.

Pollsters are notoriously slow to admit their mistakes, even though mistakes in the polls are so simple to make.

Sure, but these things have a way of working themselves out over the course of a season. Cal was mistakenly ranked second at one point last year. They played themselves out of that ranking by losing some games. These kinds of things happen every year.

Picking the preseason Top 25 is impossible to do with any accuracy, and everyone knows it, yet that initial poll sets the tone for the rest of the season.

Provided you win enough games to remain highly ranked. If you don’t, you drop.

Be lucky enough to be ranked higher than you deserve in August, and you’ll stay higher than you deserve most of the season.

If you start number one and lose one or none during the regular season, are you ranked higher than you deserve if you’re still in the first spot at the end, assuming you have a better record than other teams who played relatively similar competition?

Get screwed in the first poll, and you might as well get used to the feeling.

I’d love to see his example that proves this point. Auburn in 2004? Oklahoma and USC destroyed people all year and played for the title. Let it go.

Georgia was the preseason No. 1 team in the country. Voters swallowed enough pride a few weeks back when they dropped Georgia to No. 2 behind Southern California,

Based upon the very wrong idea that blowing out a bad Virginia team warranted such a change.

but based on history, that was as much pride as you’re going to see swallowed. And so that’s as far as the Bulldogs will drop. You watch.

I love how emphatically he makes this point. I can hear him grumbling, “You watch.” As it turned out, Georgia fell to third. Which I have no problem with, for the record. It’s the third week of the season. Things will change. I have a feeling we won’t see these kinds of columns written when Oklahoma and USC struggle with some average conference opponents later this year, though.

But did you watch this game?

Yes, every minute of it.

Georgia looked abysmal against South Carolina.

Abysmal is a bit strong. They controlled the game for three quarters but blew too many chances to put South Carolina away. The run defense was good, and the defense got stops when they had to late in the game. The offensive line and receivers had bad games. These things happen.

South Carolina’s defense is good, no question, but Georgia has alleged Heisman Trophy candidates at running back and quarterback, and Georgia managed just 252 yards.

See above comment about offensive line and receiver play. Blaming Stafford and Moreno is like blaming a pitcher for an unearned run.

South Carolina’s defense isn’t that good.

Probably not, but as I mentioned in the open, for whatever reason they manage to shut down Georgia’s offense nearly ever year.

South Carolina’s offense, meanwhile, isn’t any good. Tailback Mike Davis is a dime-a-dozen back notable only for fumbling at the goal line midway through the fourth quarter and for breaking into a locked refrigerator in the USC weight room in August and getting busted by a surveillance camera. Quarterback Chris Smelley has been jerked around by coach Steve Spurrier. Star receiver Kenny McKinley has been injured.

All of this is true. Points scored by this craptastic offense on Saturday: 7.

The Gamecocks have issues. And still Georgia couldn’t put them away. Couldn’t come close.

Well, they came close a few times. They twice blew touchdown opportunities and had to settle for field goals. A couple of other drives were killed by drops. Would 21-7 have been an impressive enough score to only fall to fourth or fifth?

The Bulldogs’ best player Saturday was their punter.

I’d give the nod to Rennie Curran who won SEC Defensive Player of the week honors for his play. Mimbs did have the best game of his career though.

Brian Mimbs launched kicks of 45, 51 and 77 yards in the fourth quarter when alleged Heisman candidate quarterback Matthew Stafford and alleged Heisman candidate tailback Knowshon Moreno were factually useless.

Yeah, fuck you guys for not blocking better on running plays, catching passes better or calling better plays.

Stafford and Moreno did have great moments earlier. Stafford darted 30 yards on a keeper, threaded a 39-yard needle to A.J. Green and stuck his head into the scrum as a lead blocker for Moreno. And Moreno’s touchdown was one of the prettiest 4-yard runs in the history of football.

Those moments didn’t actually affect the outcome of the game though. Results of the first three quarters are thrown out the window. Only the fourth matters.

But when it mattered, Stafford and Moreno didn’t.

Those shitheads. I bet they bagged it on purpose.

Stafford was 1-for-2 for eight yards in the quarter, and was sacked twice. Moreno had five carries for 16 yards. Coach Mark Richt didn’t help matters by calling strange plays throughout the quarter, running when he should pass and passing when he should run and generally doing nothing to showcase his two alleged Heisman candidates. And don’t get me started on the Georgia receiving corps, which dropped five passes and couldn’t be bothered to dive for a catchable ball on another throw.

First, Mark Richt no longer calls plays. Mike Bobo handles those duties now. The play was a little odd though. Second, wouldn’t the two sacks and 16 yards on five carries indicate that maybe the line was not doing its job? I don’t care what plays you call. When you don’t block, they don’t work. Third, I’m kind of annoyed by the receivers too, but they played like crap against South Carolina last year and got over it. It’s one game.

Richt blamed his team’s play on the steamy conditions. It was 92 degrees at kickoff.

“When you play in a hot, muggy, miserable day against the type of resistance we came up against,” Richt said, “you’re just not sharp.”

Sounds reasonable, but it also sounds ominous. Georgia plays in the SEC, and the ‘S’ isn’t for “Siberia.”

Ooh. Awesome joke man.

It gets hot in the South. It’ll stay hot in the South.

In perpetuity. It will be 92 degrees with 90% humidity on October 25, because the weahter never ever changes in the south.

If Georgia’s offense is capable of looking sharp only on those hot, muggy, miserable days when it’s facing Georgia Southern and Central Michigan, Georgia is in trouble.

And we should expect this to be the case, because they played a fairly bad game against South Carolina, much like they always do.

Unless the Bulldogs get the chance to hang 50 on Western Carolina and Eastern Illinois.

And these are two teams that Georgia does not play, which is fucking puzzling. What does this mean? Why is it here? Is it code? Is it shitty writing? It’s shitty writing isn’t it. I really overthought that.

The schedule isn’t cooperating.

I hate cantankerous schedules.

The schedule says Georgia still has a trip next week to Arizona State, where it won’t be snowing,

Nor will it be humid, because it’s in a fucking desert.

as well as SEC games against Alabama and Tennessee in Athens and visits to LSU, Jacksonville (to play Florida) and Auburn.

I will predict that by the Sept. 27 game against Alabama the temperatures will no longer be in the 90s.

Not a lot of polar bears in any of those places.

This is the dumbest bit of sarcasm I’ve ever read. The whole paragraph, start to finish. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Gregg Doyel : Sarcasm :: Carlos Mencia : Racial Humor

So there is time for this problem with Georgia to be corrected. If voters won’t do the right thing later this weekend and drop the Bulldogs behind any of a half-dozen superior teams —

Oh man. I love this list.

I’m thinking Southern California (fine), Oklahoma (cool), LSU (has played nobody), Florida (struggled mightily on offense against what is probably only an average Miami team) and possibly Missouri (secondary was a sieve against Illinois) or Alabama (struggled with Tulane) — then some of the teams on Georgia’s schedule will have to do it later.

Which makes me wonder, why the fuck are you writing this?

That’s one of the charms of the college football season. Sooner or later, mistakes in the polls get rectified. Even a mistake as glaring as the “No. 2” next to the word “Georgia.”

Seriously, why?

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The Worst Analysis Ever

Posted by biggusrickus on September 10, 2008

Matt Hayes of the sporting news wrote an article that I criticized below in part because it listed Terrelle Pryor as a reason the Ohio State Chokists would be able to compete with the USC Starlet Fuckers. Not to be outdone, Dennis Dodd devoted an entire fucking column to this asinine theory. For the record, it’s not that I think Pryor will not or should not play. It’s just that he will not be the key to Ohio State competing with or defeating USC. He is a true freshman who will play a few series and mostly try to run the ball. He may be marginally successful with his limited package of plays, or he may panic in his first truly meaningful playing time, or he may simply be shut down by a very good defense. Regardless, his impact on the outcome will be minimal. This post will also begin my new policy of not linking to Dodd columns.

Playing Pryor should become a priority — maybe necessity at USC

Priority? Probably. Necessity? No.

There’s a quarterback controversy at Ohio State, just in time for the game of the year.

No. No there is not by the standards of what is commonly defined as a “quarterback controversy.”

It’s not your generic speculation-fest about who is starting, although that might become an issue later this season.

However, if you want to go ahead and just up and change the definition, then sure you could call it a “quarterback controversy.” You can do this with anything. There’s a hurricane blowing through Jacksonville right now. It’s not your generic 100mph-hour-wind-dropping-heavy-rain-fest, although one might land here later this hurricane season. 

It’s about how much Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor is going to play Saturday against No. 1 USC.

It is raining though.

Seen as the quarterback of the future, the freshman super-recruit might have to be the quarterback of right now.

If he has to be the quarterback of right now, it means Boeckman has been injured and the Ohio State defense better play the game of its life if they want to have any chance of winning this game. Actually, even if Boeckman is the quarterback of right now I think that’s what will have to happen for Ohio State to win.

Pryor has been eased into the lineup, playing a total of 30 plays in two games.

And he is 4/8 for 35 yards passing with 0 TDS or INTS and another 94 yards on 14 carries with a TD. That’s not bad for a guy just getting his feet wet and everything, but it’s hardly a sign that he’s ready to lead this offense against the top ranked team in the country at their stadium.

He also gives No. 5 Ohio State the best chance of winning Saturday night.

I’m really going to need you to explain yourself.

What about Beanie Wells, you ask?

Now that you mention it…

What about him?

Yeah, fuck that guy. He only ran for 1,600 yards last year.

To the locked-in Trojans defense Beanie is a conventional weapon for the Buckeyes, whether coming off an injury or not. Currently third nationally in rush defense, the Trojans have finished in the top 10 in five of the last six seasons (No. 1 in 2003 and 2004).

They’ve played one game against a terrible Virginia offense, but they have an outstanding front seven so they will probably finish in the top 10 against the run again. That doesn’t automatically mean that Wells won’t have an impact. And who gives a shit about 2003 or 2004 or last year for that matter? Their past statistical performance has nothing to do with the game Saturday.

What’s another stud running back to a defense that picks them out of their teeth?

A guy that they have to worry about beating them. I doubt he’ll have huge success, but he could break the 100-yard mark. He’s also the best player on their offense, so I’m guessing he’s something to the USC defense.

The dual-threat Pryor is an unguided missile, a mystery, a human X-file.

Brent Musberger read this and thought it was a tad hyperbolic.

“When you have a weapon (like that) we’re going to use him no matter what,” Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis said.

Well sure, as a change of pace guy, trying to catch USC off guard a little bit. It might be mildly successful.

Follow the logic:

Oh dear. This is going to end badly.

Wells might or might not play.

He’s playing.

Even if he does, Beanie might not be 100 percent.

Okay.

Quarterback Todd Boeckman is coming off an uneven performance against Ohio.

True.

The last time he faced a defense this good, things did not go well. Boeckman was sacked five times and threw two interceptions against LSU in the BCS title game.

Partially true. He also threw for over 200 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

There are those who think Pryor, the nation’s No. 1 prep player last season, is merely keeping the seat on the bench warm for Boeckman.

I think these people are dumb, but keep going.

Pryor’s high school coach, Ray Reitz, believes Pryor will be the starter by the end of the season.

And if you want unbiased opinion you go directly to the player’s high school coach.

Jeannette (Pa.) High quarterbacks coach Roy Hall spoke to Pryor on Sunday night, trying to determine if the kid would play more against USC.

And if you want to really back up that unbiased opinion you go to an assistant coach on the same staff.

“Put it this way, it would be my opinion I would think he would,” Hall said. “Believe me, I know that has to put Coach Tressel in a tough position. I’m sure he can he handle it. You hear other people say they don’t want to cause a quarterback controversy.”

You also hear people say that they don’t want to start true freshmen at the hardest position on the field to learn. Especially when they have a serviceable senior to put out there.

There is little controversy if you win, but Ohio State hasn’t won enough for some.

I call these people “spoiled assholes.”

There is already the SEC stigma that is the subject of every fan message board from the Sun Belt to the Rust Belt.

When I think rational human beings, I think message board posters.

It doesn’t need to fly 2,000 miles to prove that an immobile 6-foot-5 pocket passer (Boeckman) can get beat up by the Trojans.

No, they need to prove that a talented true freshman can get beat up by the Trojans.

The much-celebrated Human X-File has the admiration of his teammates, if not the playing time from the coaches.

Those asshole coaches.

“It wasn’t easy for him to come in here and gain our respect,” defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said of Pryor. “He was going to have to earn our respect. At first he didn’t expect that. Once the summer was over he understood why we made him prove his worth. … He has been accepted with open arms.”

Then he should definitely start against USC. What was the guy going to say? “He’s a lazy, stupid shithead. That fucker shouldn’t even be attending a University, let alone playing for a football team.”

“The only thing I see that Boeckman has over Terrelle is the experience and a little bit of the reads. Terrelle is a competitor,” Hall said.

Oh good, you’re quoting his high school coach again. Was his mom unavailable for comment?

“They’ve lost that (title) game the last two years. If Terrelle can help them get over that hump, I don’t think Coach Tressel will hesitate.”

And if he can he will no doubt get more playing time as the season progresses. [Full disclosre: He can’t, at least this year.]

After getting 22 plays in the first game against Youngstown State, Pryor saw action in only two series (eight plays) against Ohio.

Huh, weird. So he played a lot against a I-AA opponent in a game that was never in doubt, but then he played less against a MAC team in a game that wasn’t decided until midway through the fourth quarter. If I didn’t know better I’d think he was, you know, a backup QB that they bring in sometimes as a change of pace.

Here are some possible reasons why:

So, no? Not a backup quarterback who comes in sometimes as a change of pace?

1. Tressel didn’t trust a freshman at quarterback during a tight game.

Seems reasonable.

Maybe, but that was a heck of a gamble.

More of a gamble than putting a freshman in the game and possibly have him force a pass into double coverage or do any number of other stupid things that true freshman QBs are prone to?

Tressel was losing with a senior at quarterback.

And he played a decent fourth quarter in a comeback. Nice thing about seniors is that they don’t panic when things are going bad.

While Saturday’s performance had a lot to do with an unmotivated offensive line and dropped passes, Boeckman didn’t exactly lead by example.

Seriously, Boeckman’s blocking and pass-catching was shitty. Set an example man!

Pryor can create plays with his feet. Why not give him a shot?

Because he’s a freshman, and if he makes a few mistakes you might very well lose to fucking Ohio University.

2. There was a preparation issue. In other words, Pryor wasn’t ready because he doesn’t know the offense.

I’m quite certain he doesn’t know the offense as well as a guy who’s been in the system for four years. That has nothing to do with preparation and everything to do with him being a true fucking freshman.

Not likely. The Kremlin is more forthcoming with information than Ohio State football is in 2008. But you’d think something would leak out if Pryor was becoming a bad seed or a slacker in practice. It has been just the opposite. Teammates seem to have taken to him and he is working hard.

I’m quite certain he is working hard, but for the sake of argument let’s say he’s not. Do you think the players are going to tell you or anyone else in the media about it?

The crowd at the season opener gave Pryor a standing ovation.

A sure sign that he has full command of the offense.

“It gave me chills,” said Hall, who was at the game.

Okay, but how does this tie into understanding the offense? Dodd? Hello?

3. Tressel is saving Pryor for USC.

Yeah, why let him get comfortable against two crappy opponents. You really want that first big experience to be on the road against arguably the best defense in the country. Dodd thinks you’re a fucking idiot apparently, Jim Tressel. Are you going to stand for that? [Crossing fingers and hoping Tressel sees this, hunts down Dodd, and slits his throat with a Bowie knife]

Bingo.

See Tress? Can I call you Tress?

The less known about Pryor on the West Coast, the better. USC did have the added advantage during its bye week of sizing up Ohio State. The Trojans saw only those eight plays.

And the 22 that were on film from the Youngstown State game. Also, how surprising is a fairly basic package involving a mobile QB really going to be?

“When Pryor’s in, it’s runs for him and quarterback draws,” USC linebacker Rey Maualuga told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re going to have a big emphasis about which quarterback is in.”

Sounds like they have a pretty good grasp of what Pryor is going to do.

The transition — if and when it comes this season — won’t cause upheaval. Pryor has earned his place on the team, chatting up Boeckman for advice, working hard in the weight room, going through the mental hazing from upperclassmen.

Leave off the “and when” in that first sentence and I’m fine with this.

It’s obvious, though, that Terrelle Pryor’s time is soon.

Why the fuck is that obvious?

The question is, will it be Saturday?

Fuck. And. No.

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Matt Hayes Vomits Forth Stupidity

Posted by biggusrickus on September 9, 2008

The University of Southern California and Ohio State University are a few days away from engaging in a game of football, in case you hadn’t heard. Matt Hayes thinks it will live up to the hype, and his reasons are typically Hayesian.

1. Ohio State is desperate:

Desperate? Really? They’re like the second winningest program this decade.

This is a manhood game, plain and simple.

I’m not going to argue that emotion has no impact on the outcome of a football game, but the idea that OSU has more to play for than the number one team in the nation is fucking batshit. Also, if you assume that he is using ‘manhood’ as a euphemism for ‘penis’ this sentence gets a lot better.

The last two times we’ve seen the Buckeyes in big games, it was utterly embarrassing.

I guess. The two times prior (Texas and Michigan in ’06) were okay. Also, I’m not sure the 14 point loss to LSU should be thought of as utterly embarrassing.

It wasn’t so much the score as it was them coming completely unhinged mentally — something so out of character for Jim Tressel-coached teams.

Florida game: yes, complete meltdown. LSU game: beaten by a better, more experienced team in what was a reasonably competitive game for a while.

Every player who has been through those emasculating losses in the last two BCS title games knows this is a statement game.

And everyone playing for USC recognizes the same thing, and they probably have the better team.

Let’s see if they respond.

Isn’t the whole basis of this that they will, in fact, respond? I assumed that was why you headlined your column “Buckeyes and Trojans won’t disappoint” and then listed Buckeye desperation as the first reason out of five. Own your opinions, Matt.

Also, is there like a standard rule in college football journalism that you can only list five reasons in a column?

2. The matchups: It’s obvious now that Ohio State has problems with teams that run the spread option.

Well, they’ve lost to two of them – Florida and Illinos – the last two years, but they held Michigan State to 185 yards and Northwestern to 120 just last year. Those two teams run variations of the spread. If I might posit a theory that runs counter to Hayes’ mindless hyping of the spread, OSU sometimes struggles against teams with talent equal to or greater than their own, like every other team in the NCAA.

USC does not run it, and the Trojans’ pro-style offensive scheme plays into the Buckeyes’ strength: athletic bruisers in the front seven and cornerbacks who can get physical with receivers.

Possibly. If they stay in this game it will definitely be because their defense contains USC, but in one of those embarrassing losses you mentioned earlier they were playing against basically a pro-style offense.

None of the USC receivers will run away from coverage,

What? The point of running routes is to get away from coverage. Apparently the USC receivers have agreed that this would be unsporting and will not be doing it.

which will allow CBs Malcolm Jenkins and Chimdi Chekwa to jam at the line of scrimmage and disrupt the Trojans’ timing-based passing game.

Receivers in the spread offense are apparently universally unjammable. I realize you can’t jam every  receiver when there are five on the field, but you can damn well jam a couple. I’m also going to guess that USC won’t be running two-wide sets all fucking day. Hayes’ obsession with the spread as some sort of unstoppable beast is truly amazing.

3. The next USC Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Sanchez is the most physically gifted of all Pete Carroll’s quarterbacks at USC, and that’s saying plenty. He has it all: big arm, accuracy, mobility. And his teammates love him. “The biggest goofball on the team,” says USC defensive tackle Fili Maola. The biggest star, too.

This is a reason to think this will be competitive and live up to the hype? The fact that one team has a Heisman caliber QB and the other has Todd Boeckman (more on him in a moment) is a good thing?

4. USC when it matters. These aren’t the games that sidetrack what is annually the nation’s most talented team. When healthy, USC owns these games. And this Trojans team hasn’t been this healthy in two years. It’s the Stanfords and Oregon States that give the Trojans fits — games in which USC is expected to roll, but they sleepwalk until it’s too late to turn it around.

Again, not really helping your initial point…that this would be a good game. USC “owning” these games might make one believe that they will easily cover the 11-point spread.

I feel like this last point should get a drum roll or something.

5. The Terrelle Pryor factor:

Yes, asking your true freshman QB to contribute heavily in a road game against maybe the best front seven in the country is a fucking brilliant idea.

No doubt, a healthy Chris Wells is important — and until he returns healthy, this Ohio State team is fourth-best in the Big Ten.

Okay, this is actually true, I think. Let’s move back to stupidity now.

But just as important is the emergence of Pryor, the nation’s No. 1 recruit from last year.

And to beat this point to death, you should really expect him to emerge three games into his freshman season, on the road, against a frightening assembly of defensive talent.

QB Todd Boeckman doesn’t scare teams — not with his arm (because OSU has no deep speed outside), and certainly not with his legs (he’s a statue in the pocket).

Pryor has played against a I-AA team and a MAC team and hasn’t accomplished much. I don’t think anyone is frightened of him either.

Pryor, on the other hand, can completely flummox USC’s speedy defense.

He could conceivably break off a decent run or two, but flummox? Wake the fuck up, Matt.

When fast defenses are forced to think and react to options (see: zone-read play), the tempo slows, and everyone on the offense immediately gets faster.

Seriously, the zone-read deducts two-tenths of a second from every offensive player’s 40 time. That’s why the spread has never, ever been stopped and why you should think that it can be run masterfully by a true freshman in his first road game against a very, very good team. Matt Hayes, you are epically wrong.

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Hugs: More Important Than Coaching Acumen?

Posted by biggusrickus on August 14, 2008

It turns out that Gregg Doyel does churn out the occasional college football column for CBS Sportsline. And, well, he’s…not good. The best I can say about him is that he’s better than Dodd, which is damning him with the faintest of praise. I don’t really have anything else to add to that, so let’s get started.

N.C. State will rue the day the ‘Pack passed on Johnson

Okay, it’s not a terrible headline, but why create the ‘Pack-passed alliteration? Alliterations are not required in all headlnes. “Rue the day” seems a little overdramatic too. Oh well, at least there aren’t any puns.

Some mistakes, you get away with. Not because you’re good, but because you’re lucky.

Alright, I’m with you so far. Though I’m unclear on how goodness can compensate for mistakes.

Switch lanes on the interstate without looking first: That’s a mistake. If there’s not a car next to you, congratulations. You just got away with it.

Particularly a mistake like this, but sure, we’ve all done this at one time or another. Though I’m fairly certain my goodness rating got me out of it the times I did so.

Some mistakes, you don’t get away with. And not because you’re bad. But because you’re unlucky.

Au contraire. Badness is the driving force behind traffic accidents.

Don’t hire Navy’s Paul Johnson, when you had the chance, as your football coach. That’s a mistake.

Well, it might be. Depending on who you hire in his place. Passing on him for, say, Bobby Bowden in his prime would be a good decision.

That was North Carolina State’s mistake 21 months ago, and for 21 months, the Wolfpack have gotten away with it.

Wha-huh? You have confused me Gregg Doyel. If it was a mistake to pass on Johnson, how did they get away with it for 21 months and why is it now going to all come crashing down? I think you may have chosen poorly with this whole mistake/consequences angle.

They hired Tom O’Brien from Boston College in December 2006, and there’s nothing wrong with hiring Tom O’Brien. His first year was a 5-7 struggle, but in the long run he’ll win more than he loses, and he’ll do it the right way. Nothing about him foretells a BCS bowl bid, but this is North Carolina State, not Florida State. And for North Carolina State, hiring Tom O’Brien wasn’t a mistake.

All true, which begs the question: Why are you writing this?

As long as Paul Johnson is still stuck at Navy.

Oh. that’s right. You’re saying that passing on Johnson wasn’t a mistake if he were coaching at Navy forever, but that it becomes a mistake when he leaves, because…..[head explodes]

But some mistakes, you don’t get away with. Not because you’re bad. But because you’re unlucky.

Reiterate much?

And North Carolina State was unlucky that Paul Johnson, just one year after being passed over by the Wolfpack in December 2006, left Navy for a new coaching job. And not just any job, but a job in a BCS league.

And not just any BCS league, but in the ACC. At Georgia Tech.

And not just any Georgia Tech, but the one in Atlanta. And not just any Atlanta, but the one in Georgia. And not just any Georgia, but the one not being overrun by Russian troops. And not just any Russian troops, but…Dear God, I beat this and beat this! Why won’t it die?!

He really is padding this mother fucker. I’m guessing he gets paid by the letter.

Paul Johnson just moved in down the street.

North Carolina State couldn’t be more unlucky.

Pad. Ding.

Games start later this month, and Paul Johnson is going to win at Georgia Tech.

This year? That’s not very likely, unless you mean, like, Gaileyan levels of mediocrity.

Eventually he’s going to win big, because that’s what he does.

Big is a relative term I suppose, but it’s not as if he’s going to create a perrenial national title contender at Georgia Tech.

Lots of people will have their doubts about Johnson in the ACC, just as they had their doubts about him at Navy in 2002 when he inherited the worst program in Division I.

And he took them to a respectable 45-29 record over six years. Another gentleman spent nine years at Navy from ’73 to ’81, and led them to a 55-46-1 record. That man’s name was Bear Bryant. Just kidding. It was George Welsh, best known for spending nineteen years coaching good, but not great Virginia teams.

Also, I have yet to read a single column doubting Johnson. Where is this cacophony of nay-sayers?

See, Johnson comes from the Division I-AA ranks,

Like the perenially maligned Jim Tressel.

 and he runs a form of the triple-option.

Like the oft-mocked Tom Osborne.

Lots of fullback dives up the middle. Quarterback keepers around the outside. Pitches to a trailing halfback. Check out the terminology. Dives. Keepers. Halfback.

Dives, keepers and halfback? Welcome back to the…um, 2000s if your team runs a variation of a pro-style offense?

That’s old school,

Those terms are not old school. The option kind of is, but let’s remember that the second winningest program of the ’90s ran the option and didn’t scrap it until they unfairly (okay, it was arguably fair) fired their coach in 2003.

and most people are skeptical of old school.

Some people are. Many, many more people are/were skeptical of new school, like the spread option.

They want their coaches to have a BCS or an NFL pedigree, and they want newfangled offenses with no fullbacks and four receivers and lots of vertical, vertical, vertical.

I’m sure he conducted a very scientific survey to determine that most people feel this way.

The only thing vertical about Paul Johnson is his winning percentage.

Ugh.

In that way, he’s a lot like Jim Grobe at Wake Forest.

He’s like the guy with the 78-72-1 career record? Really? Johnson’s career winning percentage is .729 by the way.

People think Johnson won’t be able to recruit NFL athletes to operate his small-college system?

Well, probably not at receiver or QB probably (at least no someone who will play QB in the NFL). Does anyone think he’ll have any trouble finding a fast guy to run the option? That he’ll not attract top-notch running backs? Linemen? I mean, he’ll have the normal issues of recruiting at Georgia Tech, but his system isn’t going to be the problem. And who the fuck thinks that it will? Show me that man, so I can pummel him (metaphorically).

That hasn’t stopped Grobe from dominating in the ACC — and it won’t stop Johnson, either.

Look, I like Grobe. He has turned a doormat into a competitive program and even managed to win the conference title one year when the ACC was down. But: He has dominated to the tune of a 24-32 ACC record. I predict that Johnson will have won more than 24 conference games by the end of his fifth season.

North Carolina State didn’t see it that way, though to pin the Paul Johnson oversight on “North Carolina State” is unfair to the school at large.

You mean there wasn’t a referendum to decide who would be the new coach? What kind of fascists run that University.

Passing over Paul Johnson after he had interviewed for the position in late 2006 wasn’t a North Carolina State decision.

You’re getting confusing again.

This one is completely on athletic director Lee Fowler.

Oh, but it was the decision of the guy who was given the responsibility for making these kinds of decisions by the people who run North Carolina State. Jesus Christ, Gregg. You’re fucking killing me.

Sources high up the Wolfpack food chain tell me the headhunter hired by the school, and the board of trustees who oversee the school, wanted Johnson.

Good for him?

Wolfpack fans wanted Johnson, too.

Evidence please? I didn’t follow the hiring of O’Brien, because I find nothing so boring in college football as middling ACC teams, but does he have any reason to just throw out this statement as if it is fact? I’m going to assume no, because this is column is way too long to bother with more research.

Fowler wanted O’Brien.

For clarity’s sake, I broke down the paragraph preceding this one sentence paragraph in the sections above. So, you had all of those people who wanted Johnson, then dramatic pause. And BOOM! that one sentence piece of dramatic tripe follows. It’s downright Plaschkean.

Fowler also wanted Sidney Lowe. We know how that’s working out.

BUUURRRN!!!!11!!!1!1!!!

OK, that’s not fair.

At least you’re self-aware enough to recognize that, if also enough of a dickhead to write it in the first place.

O’Brien won’t be the colossal failure that Lowe has become.

Probably not.

And since we’re already meshing Wolfpack basketball and football, let’s mesh some more and acknowledge that O’Brien has much in common with former Wolfpack basketball coach Herb Sendek.

Yeah, let’s mesh this shit all up. Lay these similarities on me.

Sendek won more than he lost, won the right way, graduated players and declined to reveal too much of himself to the media. O’Brien is a lot like that.

Cool. Sounds like my kinda guy.

Which is ominous for O’Brien, when you think about it.

How’s that?

Sendek won 105 games and went to five NCAA tournaments in his final five seasons at North Carolina State, and fans made his life so miserable that he left for Arizona State, one of the hardest jobs in the Pac-10.

Again, didn’t follow the whole Sendek thing at NC State, but is this actually so? Also, they tend to take their basketball a little more seriously at NC State than their football. As you said, it’s not like it’s FSU. But wait, it’s about to get huggy up in this bitch.

But I understand Wolfpack fans. I really do.

I tend to not believe you.

They want to win, but they want to be able to embrace their coach — like they could embrace former basketball coach Jim Valvano and, until his 3-9 season in 2006, former football coach Chuck Amato.

I’m just guessing here, but I think would embrace anyone who took them to a national title in basketball. And are you really holding up the fact that they liked Amato until he started losing as some sort of sign that they really liked his personality or something?

I’m just not sure they can embrace Tom O’Brien. He’s a good man, but he’s not … embraceable.

It’s true. He scored a mere 56!!!  on the Holtzman Embracability Profile.

Paul Johnson, though, would have been perfect.

Seriously, he scored a remarkable 231 on Holtzman.

He’s a winner, and he’s a good ol’ boy from North Carolina. To make the perfect hire in college sports, you have to know who you are.

Jim Valvano: Good ol’ boy.

Kentucky basketball, for example, knew itself when it hired a drawling workaholic named Billy Gillispie to run its basketball program.

Rick Pitino: Drawling workaholic.

Southern California knew itself when it hired a laid-back dude named Pete Carroll to run its football program.

I can’t really argue with the fact that Pete Carroll personifies the whole LA thing pretty well, but John Robinson enjoyed both success and failure at USC. Was he a laid-back dude the first go ’round and a hardassed shitkicker when he came back? (Answer: No)

North Carolina State didn’t know who it was when it hired a former U.S. Marine from the Midwest named Tom O’Brien. He’ll win more than he loses, and he’ll do it the right way, but Tom O’Brien isn’t North Carolina State.

A campus-wide identity crisis is truly tragic.

Paul Johnson is. Or was. But now he’s at Georgia Tech, and while the fit there isn’t perfect — a physical education major from Western Carolina at an academically elite institution — Johnson will win enough to make it work.

Fucking Fuckabees, the logic is all over the Allah cursed place in this column. O’Brien is fucked because he isn’t NC State (whatever the fuck that means) and Johnson will be fine despite not being Georgia Tech (however one might define that nebulous trait). Fuck!

Because that’s what he does. At Georgia Southern he inherited a program coming off a 4-7 season, and within four years had won two national championships. At Navy he inherited a program that had been 1-20 over the previous two seasons and within three years was 10-2.

Impressive, though he wasn’t going up against the toughest competition on the planet at either location. (And the ACC will provide that?) Shut up voice in my head.

Imagine what he’ll do now that he can recruit Division I athletes to a BCS school. For 21 months, North Carolina State has only been able to imagine. For North Carolina State, it was probably better that way.

Probably pretty well, but he’ll also consistently be playing BCS competition, so it will balance out to some degree. I can’t comment any more. This column has sapped my brain-power.

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Terrence Moore Contradictory Column Update

Posted by biggusrickus on August 8, 2008

So about a month ago Terrence Moore wrote a column about the “decision makers” needing to do something about Georgia’s debilitating Knucklehead Problem. I did a post about it and everything. In it he wrote the following:

If you’re a decision-maker with Georgia’s football program, and if you wish to give your talented Bulldogs their best shot at winning a national championship this season, you just can’t spend the offseason having two, three, or four of your players arrested.

Well, he’s just written another column about the dreadful rise of Knuckleheaditis in Athens. In it he wrote this:

somebody around here must get better at keeping the knuckleheads away.

No, not university officials, ranging from president Michael Adams to athletics director Damon Evans. And, no, not Mark Richt, who actually is tougher than you think. With penalties for his knuckleheads that often go beyond university guidelines, Richt has done about as much as a coach can do in these situations.

Huh, so did someone tell Terrence Moore that the decision makers don’t really have all that much control over players off-field actions? Did he read my post and have his eyes opened? Is he becoming more rational and blaming the individual players themselves?

It’s up to the peers of those Georgia’s knuckleheads.

Oh, now it’s the fault of the players who didn’t fuck up. Let’s find out how.

Where are those peers? They’ve been either non-existent or invisible during this lengthy stretch of off-season ugliness for the Bulldogs.

Trust me, they exist. And they probably seem “invisible” to the media because – and I’m just throwing this out there – they haven’t had any off-field problems that tend to make headlines during the off-season.

In other words, those peers have yet to surface as team leaders who would shove a chinstrap down the throat of a knucklehead wannabe, and that has to change in a hurry.

My parody of “A Few Good Men” starring Helen Hunt as Mark Richt and Scott Wolf (who kind of looks like Tom Cruise, isn’t batshit insane as far as I know, and is affordable on our budget) as Defense Attorney Barry Dunlap.

Dunlap: Bobo ordered the code red, didn’t he?  Because that’s what you told Bobo to do. And when it went bad you cut these guys loose. You had Garner sign a phony transfer release. You doctored the practice footage. I’ll ask for the forth time. You ordered…
Richt: You want answers?
Dunlap: I think I’m entitled to them.
Richt: (still calmly) You want answers?
Dunlap: I want the truth!
Richt: (prozac calmly) You can’t handle the truth. Son, we live in a nation with knuckleheads. And those knuckleheads have to be governed with a firm hand. Who’s gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Dewberry and curse the Georgia Bulldogs. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Dewberry’s death, while tragic, probably won football games. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, wins football games. You don’t want the truth, because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me reigning in these knuckleheads. You need me reigning in these knuckleheads. We use words like honor, loyalty, weakside bandit…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent winning games and educating young men.  You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who derives vicarious pride from the very wins I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide them. I’d prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you put on a helmet and take the field.  Either way, I don’t give a gosh darn what you think you’re entitled to.
Dunlap: Did you order the code red?
Richt: (nearly nodding off in the chair) I did the job I was hired to do.
Dunlap: Did you order the code red?
Richt: (half asleep mumble) Your darn right I did.

That totally wasn’t worth it. But let’s get a player quote that undercuts that last paragraph:

“We do have a lot of experience and a lot of guys who have led in the past. Plus, [quarterback Matthew] Stafford has started to become more vocal, and [wide receiver] Mohamed Massaquoi is vocal,” said Asher Allen, Georgia’s star cornerback, with rising leadership skills as a junior. “But the big thing is, we have a lot of example leaders. Sometimes, those are the best ones, because you can say do this and do that, but if you’re not doing those things, then it’s like, ‘Well, OK,’ to the younger guys.”

So there are both vocal and examplary leaders. They exist, like I said, and they’re probably visible to the players that have been fucking up. Though they could all constantly be doing that you-can’t-see-me hand motion thing, so it’s debatable.

In case you’re wondering, none of Georgia’s “example” leaders or otherwise was among the knuckleheads arrested for everything from rubbing the belly of a pregnant woman to numerous alcohol-related things.

I actually was not wondering that, because, by definition, if they were among the people arrested they would not be leading by example.

Just this week, Richt announced that he had suspended a sixth player. This time, it was junior linebacker Darius Dewberry, guilty of destroying a parking-lot control arm at a local hospital along with smashing four pots containing plants. Dewberry isn’t among the Bulldogs’ leaders, either.

No shit. Really? They aren’t turning to backup linebackers for leadership?

That’s great.

I’m not sure I’d call it great, but if you want to go with that, cool.

This isn’t: When a local or national newscast mentions another arrest of a UGA football player, it doesn’t specify the pedigree of the knucklehead.

Well, no, but – and I don’t mean to be beligerant here – what the fuck does this have to do with anything?

He goes on to quote Brannan Southerland about the importance of leadership, then closes with:

It sounds good. So why hasn’t it been happening, or is it happening?

Why would you think it’s not happening? You’ve talked to two players who discussed it, said it was important, and implied or stated that it is actually happening. Do you not even bother to read the quotes that you type into your columns? Or does your editor just insert them later to flesh out your column? Either way, someone needs to do something about the knuckleheads writing for the AJC.

For verification, keep checking the various police blotters.

Or you can check out the quotes in this article.

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Balls

Posted by biggusrickus on August 7, 2008

Demonte Bolden has them in spades, Bryan Mullen wrote all about it.

Vols try to shed ‘soft’ image

UT defensive line was thin last year

I’m sure writing heads and subheads every day for a bunch of articles isn’t easy, but could you try to match them up a little better than this, Sports Editor for the The Tennessean?

Expect an honest answer when you ask Demonte’ Bolden a question. The Tennessee defensive tackle tells it how it is. The topic doesn’t matter. The fallout isn’t his concern.

He’s a bold mother fucker. It’s right there in his name. No holding back. He’ll spray a clip of quotes like he gives not a fuck.

So when asked why he and his fellow defensive tackles didn’t play up to expectations last season, Bolden was typically bold.

Hold onto your dicks ladies and gentlemen, or maybe just the gentlemen.

“You could tell at the beginning of the game, we would have momentum. But as the game progressed, we wore down,” the senior said. “We couldn’t keep the same momentum but we tried to.”

BOOM, mother fucker!! Did you see him bring that shit? He just gave you some fucking truth. You and I will never be the same.

Bolden isn’t throwing the backup defensive tackles under the bus, however.

Though if he was he would. Not. Care. Demonte Bolden says what Demonte Bolden thinks and could give a shit if fools be trippin’.

He said the unit was simply thin.

Which is another way of saying the backups were kind of shitty, though that’s not what he was saying, of course.

Now, questions remain about how far the entire unit has come from 2007.

Ask Demonte. He’ll drop some knowledge. It turns into a normal article about the defensive line from there.

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Bad Sportswriting for Dummies

Posted by biggusrickus on August 5, 2008

Step 1: Choose a fairly stupid premise, such as ranking BCS Bowl Games.
Step 2: Put no thought into the stupid premise.
Step 3: Write an inane opening.
Step 4: Bad jokes, bad jokes, and more bad jokes.

Example 1-1

BCS’ best: Ranking a decade of doozies and duds

An excellent start.

The amazing thing is there have been 42 of these suckers.

That’s the amazing thing. That every BCS game has actually been played over the last ten years. That’s the only amazing thing about BCS games. Between the title and the first sentence, Dodd is well on his way to the quitessential badly written sports column.

That’s 42 BCS bowl games in 10 years.

Amazing.

Hard to believe this whole thing started in July 1998 with a confusing press conference at a Chicago hotel.

Well, technically it started the season before when all but the Big 10 and Pac 10 signed on to the new system. Then they got the Rose Bowl to sign on, bringing in the last two power conferences in 1998.

The key word being “confusing”.

Um, is the BCS really confusing? We may not know exactly how the computers figure out rankings, but the rest of it is pretty straight-forward.

None of us quite knew what college football was getting into — including college football.

We were getting a national championship game. That was the point. We all knew this, including the non-corporeal entity known as “college football.”

Heading into its 11th season, the BCS has been both a curse and a boon.

Or, you know, an imperfect system designed to determine a national champion and get money for the major conferences.

Good: The BCS has given us some sort of certainty at the end of each season, something the old bowl system couldn’t deliver.

Of the many things one might say in favor of the BCS, one of them is most certainly not that it gives us any sort of certainty. It is subject to the same debates that people hated in the old bowl/poll system. The only difference betwen the BCS and the old system is that No. 1 and No. 2 automatically play one another. But who those teams should be has only been obvious in half of the BCS seasons. I think it’s an improvement and preferable to the eight and sixteen team playoff ideas that have been floated by somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion people by now.

Two teams play for the BCS championship. They might not be the two teams you wanted, but it’s a work in progress.

The team I wanted has never played for the title. I blame the computers. Or perhaps the losses. Nope, it’s the computers.

Bad: Well, where do you want to start?

Nebraska in 2001.

Two-loss Colorado wasn’t really any more deserving on the whole that year despite the shellacking they laid on Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. I guess Oregon had a decent gripe, but really, this wasn’t the travesty everyone makes it out to be.

LSU and Southern California in 2003.

Blame the AP for this one. They got their panties in a bunch and refused to abide by the dictates of the system. And really, a chmpionship split between two polls isn’t that big a deal.

Auburn in 2004.

Three undefeated teams and Auburn started out ranked lowest. Shit happens.

Georgia and USC in 2007.

I think most people accept that LSU had a better body of work than both of these teams. Much as it pains me to admit that (Fuck you forever Vandy for blowing that lead against Tennessee. I hope you never win again.)

Last season ended in a car wreck unless you were in Baton Rouge.

See above.

LSU became the first team in 47 years to win a national championship with two losses.

As would anyone aside from Kansas (who played an ubersoft schedule en route to their one-loss season) with a shot to make the title game.

It has been great: Thirteen of the 42 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Four of those were BCS title games. It has been a bore: Twenty-four of the games have been decided by 10 or more points, including the other six championship games.

Welcome to athletic competition in team sports, where teams sometimes play nail-biters and sometimes don’t. This is not unique to the BCS. Also, 10-14 point games are sometimes very competitive, with one team icing the game late in the fourth quarter.

Where’s this thing headed?

Probably to a +1 format in the next few years.

Who knows,

The Shadow knows.

but we thought we’d kick off our season previews with a look at where we’ve been.

We’re going to look into the future by examining the past? Is this an ignorance of history, doomed to repeat it sort of thing?

Here’s how the 42 games have stacked up — 1 to 42 — over the past 10 years. We’re also including an all-BCS team chosen from the 11 teams that have played for a BCS title in the past decade.

Now, I want to stress how boring I think this whole concept is. It’s a testament to how little Dodd has to say about college football. But: if you’re going to go this route, at least try to make it look like you didn’t just pull games out of a hat. The first eleven are okay. I’d probably reorder them a bit, but they were all close and exciting games. Then you hit number 12:

12. USC 55, Oklahoma 19 — 2004 championship game (Orange Bowl) … The worst of Oklahoma’s current four-game BCS bowl losing streak.

I stopped watching this game at halftime. This is one of the worst two title games to date. Where does the other worst title game rank? I’m glad you asked, me:

13. Florida 41, Ohio State 14 — 2006 championship game (in Glendale, Ariz.) … Ted Ginn Jr. makes an early exit. Florida never lets up.

But you know, maybe he was giving them extra weight because they were title games.

15. Oregon State 41, Notre Dame 9 — 2001 Fiesta Bowl … Dennis Erickson’s jucos embarrass ND.

Oh. So, you’re just a big fan of blowouts. And to comment on the, er, comments: That’s the snippet you felt best summarized the game? Everyone embarrasses Notre Dame in BCS games, generally because they haven’t really deserved to be in one in over a decade. As demonstrated by:

38. LSU 41, Notre Dame 14 — 2007 Sugar Bowl … JaMarcus Russell outplays Brady Quinn. The NFL takes care of both of them.

Why the fuck is this #38 while a similar Irish blowout was 23 spots higher? This one even matched up two first round picks. This makes no sense at all. I’ll just list the rest of the headscratchers.

17. USC 49, Illinois 17 — 2008 Rose Bowl … At least Illinois earned its trip to Pasadena, right Georgia?

18. Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2 — 2001 championship game (Orange Bowl) … Still Bob Stoops’ best Oklahoma defense.

20. Kansas 24, Virginia Tech 14 — 2008 Orange Bowl … Aqib Talib high-steps the Jayhawks to their greatest victory.

21. Georgia 41, Hawaii 10 — 2008 Sugar Bowl … Warriors’ junior varsity is no match for the mighty Dawgs.

22. Miami 37, Nebraska 14 — 2001 championship game (Rose Bowl) … At least Nebraska deserved to be there, right?

23. Miami 37, Florida 20 — 2001 Sugar Bowl — The Hurricanes thought they should have been champions.

Those last three because they’re ahead of:

27. Miami 16, Florida State 14 — 2004 Orange Bowl … Another Wide Right by FSU. Miami beats the ‘Noles for fifth consecutive time.

28. Wisconsin 38, UCLA 31 — 1999 Rose Bowl … The first Wisconsin team to win 11 games takes over the Rose Bowl with Badger red.

29. Ohio State 35, Kansas State 28 — 2004 Fiesta Bowl … Kansas State is distracted by a sexual assault charge against quarterback Ell Roberson.

33. Auburn 16, Virginia Tech 13 — 2005 Sugar Bowl … Auburn goes unbeaten and feels like spit.

40. Wisconsin 17, Stanford 9 — 2000 Rose Bowl … The nation’s fifth-worst defense holds down Rose Bowl MVP Ron Dayne — in the first half.

The last two-thirds of this list is just fucking nonsense. Bad premise + bad jokes + bad (no?) thinking = amazingly bad article.

Posted in Nonsense, Rankings | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Hey, Movie References and Other Bad Jokes!

Posted by biggusrickus on July 31, 2008

So, John Kaltefleiter still writes things, including this. It’s about how people are making too big a deal out of Georgia’s schedule, which is kind of true, I think. It even opens up okay by quoting a player. And then it gets cringe-worthy.

We try to peruse the schedule and find definite wins, possible losses and games that could go either way.

John, listen, I know these are your categories and they aren’t, like, official, but are you sure you want to separate “possible losses” from “games that could go either way?” Alright, just checking. Carry on.

Truthfully, lying around clutching a can of SpaghettiO’s and channel surfing is more productive.

You should try it in your mother’s basement wearing only your underwear. It’s pretty sweet.

Amazingly, this isn’t even the worst joke in this column.

The tendency to predict what will happen one week from the next during the offseason happens because the vast majority of us are convinced that we’re as football savvy as the late Jimmy the Greek or Phil Steele.

So, I’ll ignore the bad grammar and deal with the point. I consider myself fairly well-versed in college football, though nowhere near as thorough in my understanding of most teams around the country as Phil Steele. Does anyone, anywhere even think about Jimmy the Greek these days, let alone compare their football knowledge to his? Also, I think we try to predict what will happen from week to week, because we like discussing football. You know, because we’re fans of the sport.

In reality, most are as football smart as Phil Connors from Groundhog Day.

Love Groundhog Day. I watch it whenever I come across it and make a point of watching it on February 2. And that’s one of the reasons this joke pains me so much. Why Phil Connors?! Was he famously uninformed about college football? No. No, he was not. You can’t make something into a joke by just picking a dude from a movie and putting him in a simile.

Also, fuck you. I’ve talked to a lot of fans who are a lot more knowledgeable about college football than most sportswriters I’ve read.

If you listen or read what the national media is saying about Georgia’s schedule you’d think the Bulldogs were facing the ’75 Steelers every other week.

Well, there has been a lot, probably too much emphasis put on Georgia’s schedule being hard, but you may be exaggerating the national media’s claims a bit here. I mean, the schedule is pretty fucking hard.

Based on how things panned out last season, Georgia’s slate does seem like the Charles Bronson of seasons.

An improvement! Charles Bronson is famously tough! I’m not even going to criticize him for using the pop culture reference trope here, because he has just used a relevant pop culture reference. Kudos John.

Here’s the thing to remember – what took place last season if [sic] worth nearly as much as that penny wedged between the driver’s seat and the console in your car.

Ugh, that metaphor is as strained as Kevin Costner’s accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Oh yeah, the point, it’s one I’ve made before and mostly agree with.

LSU, the defending national champs, needs a quarterback worse than Nick Saban needs a exorcism. Florida still needs a secondary and Percy Harvin with two healthy wheels.

Awesomely terrible Nick-Saban-is-evil joke, dude. But where’s the joke in the second sentence? Here, I’ll help. Florida still needs a secondary and Percy Harvin with two healthy (healthy?) wheels the way Marty McFly needed to get his parents back together in Back to the Future.

Steve Spurrier and South Carolina covets a quarterback and a rush defense that doesn’t give up yards like Visa doles out credit cards. OK, Tennessee’s a mystery, but five of its opponents will be off the week before they play the Volunteers. That includes Georgia.

…but five of its opponents will be off like kids during spring break…

And agonizing over how Georgia can survive a four-game stretch in October and November when it plays four straight away from Sanford Stadium is like wondering when ballooning gas prices will subside.

And what rational person would wonder when gas prices might come down?

After all, Mark Richt’s record on opponents’ turf is 25-4.

How can you pass up a Road Warrior joke there? You may even be able to combine that, Passion of the Christ, and Richt’s religiosity into one mega-pop culture reference.

Bottom line? Georgia’s schedule isn’t as much of a factor as it appears at this point. Be it through superior talent or a splash of luck, a team destined for a national title finds ways to win, regardless of opponents or venues.

Destiny. It was destiny that caused WVU and Missouri to lose on the same day and give LSU (who lost two games because their schedule was tough, despite probably having the best team in the country) their shot at the title. The fates stepped in on their behalf. Are we talking about epic poems or football?

If Allen and company eventually fall into the category, they’ll be talking about the final game, not the 12 or 13 that preceded it.

Allen was the player he talked to. Do you really think they won’t look back over the season and maybe discuss what happened should they win the national title? Why the fuck would you think that?

John Kaltefleiter needs to take a writing course like Luca Brasi from The Godfather.

Posted in Weird | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The Artful Whine

Posted by biggusrickus on July 30, 2008

Okay, there’s nothing particularly artful about it, but there’s plenty of extra whine to make up for that. It’s been a couple of posts, so let’s welcome back Dennis Dodd.

The Big 12’s best, minus two

He means three, but we’ll get to that later.

Scratch two Heisman candidates?

Did he mean this to be a question? I’ll answer it. No, don’t scratch them, if by “scratch them” you mean remove from your ballot or consideration or something.

This is nothing personal against Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree.

No, it’s something personal against another guy. Something for which you will be punishing these two gentlemen. But I’m getting ahead of the text.

Both are part of a bumper crop of Big 12 award candidates this season. But their trophy chances had to dim when they didn’t show up Monday for the beginning of the conference’s preseason media days.

And why the fuck is that?

It wasn’t necessarily their choice.

But you’re still holding it against them? Cool.

Coach Mike Leach decided that the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner (Crabtree) and a guy who could become the leading passer of all time (Harrell) weren’t worthy to be interviewed by us media types during a pre-arranged media session on football media day.

It seems to me that he decided he simply didn’t want them singled out, not that he deemed them or you unworthy. It seems this way to me because you asked him about it, and he said something like the following paraphrase:

Leach threw out something about football being the ultimate team game when I asked him why on Monday.

What an asshole, am I right? He wants to keep players from being singled out in order to foster team unity? That’s dickheadery of the highest order. I can’t believe he tossed that out and expected anyone to bite.

Also, bear in mind that Crabtree won the Belitnikoff Award, which goes to the best wide receiver in the entire nation, last year. You’ll understand why.

I’m not saying Harrell and Crabtree are out of the Heisman race before it begins.

I would certainly hope not.

I’ll leave that to the other Heisman voters whose companies spent money and resources for them to get here. Let’s just say stiffing the Big 12 (and national) media doesn’t help.

Oh, but you are kind of hinting at it. It is nice that you’re being so open about your tendency to support or not support candidates depending on whether or not they feed you quotes. I mean, I always sort of suspected you were about as objective as a member of Hezbollah, but to have proof is nice. You know why awards in pretty much every sport are complete bullshit? Because of people like Dodd. And the sad thing is, he isn’t uncommon at all.

Leach is quirky that way. He doesn’t do things conventionally all the time. Sometimes that’s charming. Sometimes it’s downright unprofessional.

What Dodd actually means: Leach is quirky, which is awesome when it provides good copy but unprofessional when it deprives me of innocuous quotes about which I can write inane articles.

A person with knowledge told me that the Big 12 asked to [sic] Leach to reconsider bringing his two stars, but that he refused.

He stuck to his guns. What a bold cowboy Leach is.

Hold on though, it’s about to get bitchy(er):

To reporters Monday, Leach flippantly said that any of us are welcome to interview his stars “in their natural habitat” in Lubbock. That’s great except there is a reason these media days exist, so we don’t have to go to each individual school. Especially when Lubbock is so far from anywhere it can see the end of the earth in any given direction.

First, Leach was “flippant.” Second, you have the coach to talk to about the program. Why must you have players too? They almost never say anything interesting. Third, he takes a needless shot at Lubbock. Fourth, Dodd is a dick.

“A lot of times there are so many guys who play football, there is a temptation to isolate the attention around a couple of guys,” Leach said. “Our team is far more than a couple of individuals.”

I assume this is the “thrown out” quote that Dodd paraphrased earlier. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Oh yeah?

Uh, Dodd’s totally got you by the balls now Leach.

That would make a shred of sense if it weren’t so hypocritical. In Texas Tech’s own media guide Crabtree has a page to himself. Harrell has two. Every other player in the guide except one (running back Shannon Woods) gets half a page. So much for not isolating the attention around a couple of individuals.

On a hypocrisy scale from 1-10, where 10 is Larry Craig and 1 is Jesus Christ, this rates about a 2-2.5.

On a passive-agressive bitchiness scale from 1-10, this column rates a 9.

If this was a high school team before a state championship, I’d kind of understand it.

You mean you wouldn’t write a bitchy article about how this hypothetical high school isn’t worth a shit and that their players shouldn’t be eligible for Mr. Football or something like that? That’s big of you.

This being a major university (according to some) with major aspirations taking in major public dollars, it is short-sighted.

Fuck the heck?! What does placating a fucking media hack have to do with public monies?

Tech SID Chris Cook told me an interesting story about Crabtree working out in Dallas with the likes of Deion Sanders and Pacman Jones. Sure wish I could have fleshed that one out. It sounded neat.

This sums up his whole beef. He wants to write (poorly) about a couple of players and feels slighted. Because of this he is pretty much openly admitting that he is going to punish these players by not voting for them for awards. And this will in turn hurt the athletic department…somehow. Can you believe how openly corrupt and spiteful Dodd is being in this? It’s breathtaking.

Leach wants to send the message of teamwork. Here’s another message Leach is sending: Attention, recruits. Don’t come to Texas Tech. We won’t promote you. You’ll have a tough time winning national awards, never mind competing in a Big 12 South Division Tech has never won.

I repeat: Breath. Taking.

This is not just me on a rant.

I beg to differ.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel woke at 4:30 Monday morning to fly from Los Angeles to be here for interviews. Daniel is currently an instructor at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Southern California. After a couple of hours of answering questions, Daniel was right back on a plane back to California.

Um…cool? Way to go Chase? Where’s this going?

He seemed to be slightly upset that the Tech guys weren’t here after the effort he had made.

Why does he care? This makes me sort of dislike him. If were like Dodd, and if I had a Heisman vote, this would have lost it for him.

“You’ve got to bring your best players here,” he told me. “It’s the best thing to do. Coach Leach is a smart guy. He’s been in this business a lot longer than I’ve been alive. He can do what he wants. (But) you look at it: You have a guy like Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, both are legitimate Heisman candidates. You’ve got to get them both out in the limelight.”

Remember how Crabtree won the Belitnikoff last year? Yeah, he wasn’t at Media Days. You know what really generates pub? Making plays during games on national television, or doing things so aweosme they get you Sportscenter highlights. I’m guessing these guys will probably accomplish those things.

The trend continues here. Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford won’t be making an appearance either on Wednesday.

And there’s the third absentee.

The nation’s pass efficiency leader last year is old enough to go to war, own a house and vote but apparently not mature enough to handle a few media questions.

Or, you know, maybe Stoops wanted to bring upperclassmen, like nearly every other fucking coach in the country.

It’s not like we’re going to grill him. After the season he had, we want to say good things. Start with the fact Bradford is an inspiration on the field and to the Native American culture he represents.

Well, sure, but you’d rather he say something controversial, about which you could rant and rave in kind of a weird, poorly written column.

Maybe there are extenuating circumstances. I doubt it. I’m tired of it, anyway. These kids aren’t the property of the football program. They are students with lives to lead who might want to see a different part of the world than their own. In essence, they are promoting the school, before themselves, at these media days.

Who among us doesn’t want to hang out in a hotel and get peppered with questions by media know-nothings? That sounds like a god damned treat.

In that case, what the hell is wrong with being an individual?

Holy shit! And that’s how you chose to end it? After you just spent the entire fucking article ripping Leach for his quirky individualism? This is a new low, Dodd. And that’s saying a lot.

Posted in Whining | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Option Cool, Bowden Wrong

Posted by biggusrickus on July 29, 2008

I should have checked out Yahoo! Sports a long time ago. Terry Bowden is a treasure trove of wrongness, and he wrote this thing yesterday.

Triple threat

Not since Stuff magazine have I seen a more generic title/headline/whatever. If you just stumbled blindly onto this column wihtout knowing it was about college football, how many things could you guess it might be about?

  • Baseball player who hits for average, power, and steals bases
  • Football player who plays receiver, QB, and returns kicks
  • Actor who can also sing and dance
  • Cricket player who does whatever three things are important in that game
  • Movie starring Lorin Becker as assassin, Dina LoBianca

There are a lot of great story lines heading into the 2008 college football season, but the best one involving X’s and O’s is whether Georgia Tech can be successful running a one-dimensional triple option running attack at the BCS level.

He couldn’t even make it through the opening sentence without being wrong. I’m very interested in this storyline as a Georgia fan and lover of the option, but off the top of my head I can come up with two better ones: Norm Chow going to coach offense across town from the program he helped Pete Carroll rejuvinate and Tony Franklin trying to implement the spread at potential SEC champion, and by extension national champion, Auburn. Those both trump the implementation of the triple option for a middling ACC team that at best will remain a middling ACC team this year. Tennessee’s situation is probably as interesting as Georgia Tech’s, seeing as I have no idea what Clawson’s offense actually looks like.

This will be the first time in a long while that such a style of offense will be tried at the top college football level.

I guess if you consider four years a long while. Remember these guys, Terry? Two sentences, twice wrong. He then broke the trend by saying something obvious, but couldn’t keep it going by writing this reiteration:

Although quite a few teams are now running some type of quarterback option out of a shotgun spread formation, it has been a long time since anyone has tried to put a QB under center in order to run a down-the-line option at the highest level of football.

You have to almost admire that kind of insistence on being wrong. More obvious stuff, then:

I’m not saying the option to pass won’t be there at all, but, like Oklahoma and Alabama in the 70’s and 80’s…

Or Nebraska in 2003. More stuff about the option that everybody reading probably already knows, then:

Many compare Johnson’s offense to that of Mike Leach at Texas Tech and that is true to the extent they are the exact opposites.

What an odd way to phrase that. And who are these “many?” Why not just write: Johnson’s offense and Mike Leach’s at Texas Tech are a contrast in styles? I mean, it doesn’t make it any more intersting, but at least it isn’t fucking convoluted. He follows that with Navy being first in rushing and last in passing and Texas Tech being first in passing but last in rushing. Contrast.

So, will Johnson be successful running the triple option at Georgia Tech?

Absolutely.

Correct answer: Probably.

Will it happen this season?

Probably not.

Correct answer: Absolutely not.

His reasons are actually not that bad. Johnson is a good coach and the option has worked before and can work again at the highest levels. I happen to agree with both of these sentiments. He then compiles a list of mostly fine bullet points detailing why he thinks Johnson will be successful, but there’s this:

Since you win championships with defense, no offense in the country has the ability to control the clock better than the triple option. The more you control the clock with your offense, the more your defense is resting on the bench.

Come again? That is a fucking brainteaser of a first sentence. “Since you win championships with defense…no offense in the country has the ability to control the clock better than the triple option.” Let’s try this with other things:

  • Since you win wars by effectively controlling conquered territory, no military has the quick strike capability of the United States.
  • Since turkey sandwiches are delicious, no ham is as good as honey-glazed.
  • Since New York is the best city in the world, no city is as romantic as Paris.
  • Since I’m a terrible writer, no editors look this shit over.

There’s also this:

This is a true TEAM concept where every player on the offense understands that they must all work together to make it work. No running back will get all the carries and receivers must learn how to block.

Unlike all of those other offenses where linemen gawk while wide receivers run haphazardly down the field, and the quarterback just sort of stands there looking busy, and the running back gets mashed into a bloody pulp by a couple of very large defensive tackles on every running play.

The need for the right quarterback and some of the other pieces of the puzzle might take a couple of years to put into place, so don’t expect Georgia Tech to contend for the ACC title this year.

That is why this story isn’t as interesting as others this season. The opening sentence of your closing paragraph just undercut the first sentence of your opening paragraph. Nice work.

But like the impact Rich Rodriquez made in the Big East and Urban Meyer in the SEC, it is just a matter of time before Johnson has this team contending for championships.

I’ll give you Rodriguez, but Meyer? Florida’s offense was fairly average his first two years. Their defense was the biggest key to winning the SEC and national titles in 2006. The spread has actually not had much of an impact on the SEC, though it certainly works better with Tebow and Harvin than it did with Leak under center. Great players will do that for a system.

Posted in Nonsense | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pointing Out the Obvious and Hyperbole

Posted by biggusrickus on July 28, 2008

That’s what Dennis Dodd gives you. That and writing at a fourth grade level. In fairness, most people probably don’t read at a much higher level. Ergo:

Five things you need to know about the SEC

Better headline: Five things you already know about the SEC, but I’ll tell you anyway, because I have to write something in order to keep receiving these checks from CBS.

1. The East is a toss-up between Georgia and Florida: It’s always a problem when the two best SEC teams are from the same division. The conference title and national championship could come down to the Nov. 1 Cocktail Party in Jacksonville.

True, probably. Now, why is it a problem when the two best teams are in the same division? It ensures that the two best teams will play during the season, which is pretty awesome. Especially when it’s a big rivalry game like the Cocktail Party. Also, is Florida really one of the two best teams? We still don’t know how improved their running back situation and defense will be. LSU still has better lines of scrimmage. Auburn should be pretty good. Hell, Tennessee returns a bunch of players from last year’s division champ. Tebow and Harvin are scary good, but I’m not entirely sold on Florida being a great team.

2. So why is Georgia No. 1? A seven-game winning streak helps. So does having the quarterback that the NFL might consider the best in next year’s draft, Matthew Stafford. Throw in tailback Knowshon Moreno and a stout defense and Bulldogs are having an easy time getting over the death of UGA VI.

All of these things are true, but what does the list of positives have to do with getting over the death of a fucking dog? Look, I like UGA. He’s iconic and kind of cute in an ugly way. At the end of the day, however, he’s just a dog. Fine, it was a joke. I don’t care. If you can’t be funny I’m going to pretend you’re being completely serious.

3. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Tim Tebow. Really. The kid was the first sophomore to win a Heisman. He helped perform circumcision during a missionary trip to the Phillipines. During a trip to Europe some guy who couldn’t speak English recognized him. The kid has never so much as sneaked a cigarette in high school. Believe me, someone asked him at the media days.

Do we really know he didn’t sneak a cigarette in high school, which would have been his house. He was home-schooled. He seems like an all-around nice lunkhead. But – an maybe I’m cynical – doesn’t he seem a bit too perfect? Not to say that he’s secretly a drug dealer or something like that. But, you know, maybe he’s not nice at all times? Maybe he’s said some mean things to people at various times in his life? It seems hard to believe he’s always a cheery, Jesus-loving do-gooder.

“There are a lot of leaders out there,” Tebow said. “Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good ones.”

Deep. Mature. Godly. God-like?

4. Fail and you die.

Seriously, the SEC is like The Running Man.

There’s pressure and then there’s SEC pressure. Change is a constant. There are two new head coaches (Ole Miss, Arkansas), but almost half of the league’s 24 coordinators (11) have been replaced.

Well, two new coaches pretty much guarantees that four would change. Auburn is replacing both, one due to failure and one because he took a better job. So, that’s six, only one of which was pressurized. I’m not saying there’s no pressure in the league, but stop blowing shit out of proportion, Dennis.

5. The national champion formerly known as LSU is alive and well, kind of. The Tigers figure to drop a notch or two after being the lucky recipients of a national championship berth despite a two-loss regular season. Quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is gone (thank goodness). Consider it addition by subtraction.

Okay, obvious so far. But “addition by subtraction” would mean LSU is better off. Which is debatable I suppose, but don’t write this immediately afterwards.

There’s no way LSU can defend the West, much less the national championship, while breaking in either redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee or Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch.

You can’t argue that they’re better off without Perriloux and then list their QBs as the key reason they won’t repeat as national champs. Fucktard.

But the Tigers will make another run at it in ’09.

So those are the five things you needed to know. You feel informed? I know I do.

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