I watched college football for twelve consecutive hours on Saturday. It was glorious, pure Heaven, the kind of moment when you breathe deeply and think: Life doesn’t get much better than this. You know who wasn’t thinking that? The poor bastards who had to attend a wedding on September 10th. The people who felt the worst of all? How about Mississippi State fans frantically checking their phones to see what was going to happen down the stretch of the Auburn game.
This picture is from a Memphis wedding. There is only one reason why there should ever be a fall wedding — your bride is pregnant and you can still fool her parents in to believing that she wasn’t pregnant when you got married.
In fact, “Dude, she’s pregnant,” is an acceptable reason to do just about anything. (I’ll allow a limited exception for a wedding that takes place on a bye week, but even that is likely to inconvenience all your friends who don’t happen to root for the same team as you). Also, if your bride is the kind of person who is worried about the game being a “distraction” and won’t allow the game to be shown? Run in the opposite direction. Consider it the equivalent of following up Shaquille O’Neal, you’re never going to satisfy her.
Assuming she’s not pregnant, there is no reason that can justify requiring your friends to give up one of the glorious fall weekends — there are only 12! — for a wedding. You have forty weeks without college football in the South. If those 40 weeks don’t work, you really shouldn’t be getting married.
On to the Starting 11.
1. What was Dan Mullen thinking?
You have 11 seconds left. It’s second and goal. You absolutely have to throw the ball on second down. You. Just. Have. To. You cannot allow the game to end on a running play. I was watching the game with my friend Tardio — his girlfriend graduated from Mississippi State so I can finally confirm someone has graduated from there — and we were already debating whether or not Mullen would go for two after his score.
That’s how confident we were that State would score.
Then, inexplicably, Mullen went Les Miles on us and got stopped a foot from the goal line. This, by the way, is the second time Mississippi State has lost a game with Mullen — LSU was the other — where all a quarterback needed to do was extend the ball over the goal line to win. State should spend an entire practice on this one day, how to get the quarterback to extend the ball at the end of the game. If you’re Chris Relf in this situation you have to hold the ball out near the goal line. Have to. If you fumble short of the goal line, so what, the game is going to end either way. What’s more, if you fumble into the end zone on second down your team can recover it. (On fourth down you wouldn’t be allowed to fumble forward).
So you absolutely cannot be tackled short of the goal line without fumbling.
Anyway, I’ll ask you this, if Les Miles and LSU lost a game this way, how much would Miles be getting crushed?
The same should hold true for Mullen. I love him, but he has to get killed for this. Inexplicable that the game could end out of a timeout like this.
By the way, a bunch of you Tweeted me this line:
2. Okay, I know you’re hating life right now because it’s Monday.
You’re sitting there thinking, why do I have this job? What am I doing with my life? Half of you are contemplating hiking Machu Pichu. The other half of you have porn open in another window.
But at least you’re not going to be kicking a -4 yard punt in your office.
The announcers say they’ve never seen a backwards punt before, but I’ll raise them one — my friend Sam once hit me with a backwards golf tee shot.
I knew he was bad so I was standing at an improbable angle in the tee box, ten yards behind him to the back right. I’ll be damned if he didn’t somehow slice the ball so bad that it came backwards and hit me in the shin.
Anytime one of your friends hits you with a golf ball, you’re pissed, but sometimes you’re partially to blame. Or, at worst, you’ve assumed the risk that if you’re standing in front of someone you might get hit by his or her shot. But how much does it suck to be hit by a golf ball when you’re standing behind the tee box?
I was so pissed. And I’m still not sure how it happened. That seems to violate the laws of physics. Like Matrix-level complex, Neo with a golf club.
(By the way, another friend of mine got hit at the driving range. By the guy teeing off next to him.
The driving range!
You should never be allowed to play golf again if you hit someone at the driving range).
3. Tyler Bray is the best quarterback in the SEC.
And there isn’t a close second.
I told y’all this last week and you blew up my Twitter feed with condemnation. Then Bray went out and broke Peyton Manning’s record for consecutive games with 2+ touchdowns en route to passing for 405 yards and four touchdowns. He was 34-41 on the game and he’s now 51-65 for 698 yards with 7 touchdowns and no picks on the season.
He’s on pace for 4188 yards and 42 touchdowns this season.
He’s the real deal.
But so are wide receivers Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers, who have already combined for 310 yards and 200 yards, good for 6th and 24th in the nation — 1 and 3 in the SEC.
Prediction: all three of these players will leave school early and be first round picks in the 2013 draft. They’re that good of a trio. I’ll have more on the Florida game later this week, but I’ve been picking the Vols since June. The Gators opened as an 8.5 point favorite late Sunday night. Expect that to fall.
Also, if Tennessee beats South Carolina on October 29th, there’s a decent chance the Vols win the SEC East in a tiebreak over the Gamecocks.
4. Auburn’s eagle tried to fly into the luxury suites before the Mississippi State game started.
If you haven’t been to Auburn for the eagle fly-over, you’re missing out. It’s incredible. But Nova the eagle is getting close to killing someone. (Evidently this was a special bald eagle for 9/11. Either way these eagles are terrifying).
As he flies overhead the eagle gets really close to you. And he’s huge.
This happened last year before the South Carolina game. Look at the scared faces. Some of these old dudes fought in World War II and they’re hitting the deck like a Panzer battalion just rolled into camp.
That’s because big birds are terrifying if they get close to you.
Now the eagle is running into the windows of suites. Mark my words, Nova is attacking someone this year. Hell, he could probably pick up Nick Saban and carry him away.
Speaking of attacking someone, PETA is upset that the 21 foot crocodile we told you about in last week’s Starting 11 is being held in captivity. That’s despite the fact that the crocodile is thought to have killed two humans.
Quoth PETA: “(The government) should do the compassionate thing and order this crocodile to be returned to his natural habitat, as taking him away to be locked up in an animal prison is just plain wrong.”
I disagree, I think we should feed this crocodile PETA members.
5. South Carolina could win the national title this year.
The next four home games: Navy, Vanderbilt, Auburn, and Kentucky should all be wins to get the Gamecocks to 6-0. Auburn is the only game that should be remotely close, the other three should be blowouts.
Then comes a three-game road stretch: at Arkansas, at Mississippi State, and at Tennessee.
But here’s the deal, South Carolina only needs to go 2-1 in these games. Since the Gamecocks don’t play LSU or Alabama this year they’ll probably get a default semifinal against the SEC West champ, likely Bama or LSU. A one-loss South Carolina team that beats LSU or Alabama in the SEC title game has a very strong chance of playing for the national title.
Just remember where you read it. (And heard it. I’ve been saying this on 3 Hour Lunch for a couple of weeks now).
And if Stephen Garcia gets arrested for kidnapping Mike the Tiger on South Carolina’s bye week I will have no recollection of this prediction.
6. Thomas the tank engine rules my life.
Saturday I took my three year old to see Thomas the tank engine for the third consecutive year. (He’ll be four in January so we didn’t take him when he was less than a year old, he’d already become a Thomas fan by this point). I continue to be amazed at the fact that Thomas the tank engine is the only profitable passenger train in America. He makes more than Amtrak could ever dream of.
So I’ll reiterate this question, why doesn’t Amtrak just rebrand its trains as Thomas trains, the island of Sodor meets the Northeast?
If you don’t have kids and you have no idea what I’m talking about, you will one day.
By the way, here’s a picture of Fox rocking the always tough, double Rosie tattoos on his forearms during our train ride.
HAM: Thomas style.
Also, I’m not sure if this link will work, but Trisha F. posted this video on Facebook of the Thomas train ride in Nashville. The ride takes you through the homeless town. This homeless man was not pleased to see Thomas coming by.
7. Michigan-Notre Dame pom-pons.
For five years my friend Kelly, a Michigan grad who went to practice law in Alabama, has been ridiculing Southern shakers/pom-pons. I even quoted him thusly in “Dixieland Delight”: “What’s the deal with Southern guys cheering during games with pom-pons?”
He was at Michigan-Notre Dame and I texted him about the Wolverines’ sudden embrace of pom-pons in the first night game of all-time. His about-face: “Pom pon defense is that somebody went to Tuscaloosa and realized it’s infinitely better to watch college football there. So we’re copying them in every way. And it’s working.”
(Note, this is how pom-pon is supposed to be spelled. For once I didn’t misspell something on here).
8. Bama bludgeons Penn State and proves that its defense is incredible.
When Bama and LSU play on November 5th, the final score might be 3-0.
I’m also not sure that there are any other really good defenses in the SEC this year other than LSU, Alabama, and Florida.
Seriously, who is the fourth best defense in the league?
There’s a tremendous drop off after these three.
I’ve seen enough to predict that Tennessee and Arkansas are going to be really, really good on offense. I’m willing to give Dan Mullen and Gus Malzahn the benefit of the doubt at Mississippi State and Auburn. Toss in South Carolina as a fifth best good offense.
Otherwise there is a lot of mediocrity on offense and defense in this league.
I’m interested to see how these top offenses will match up with the three top defenses.
9. Michael J. Fox on Curb Your Enthusiasm’s season finale = amazing.
Is it selfish of me to wish Larry David would write a book? How amazing could this be? He’d probably say his life is reflected in Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I disagree, he needs to write a book. Especially considering he’s 64.
Did y’all realize he was this old?
He’s the only person in entertainment I’d like to write a book about. Especially if he’d actually help out.
In fact, are you telling me that Larry David deciding to write his memoirs isn’t the perfect set-up for season nine of Curb Your Enthusiasm? Can you imagine how good this could be?
And if you’re reading this right now and you’ve never watched Curb, start the DVDs now. You’re wasting your life if you aren’t watching.
10. Vandy is 2-0 and has an outside chance at a bowl game this year.
The last time a first-year Vandy coach was 2-0 was in 1975. I went to this game in person and I’m here to tell you that James Franklin is the real deal. How real? Beat Ole Miss, Army, Kentucky, and Wake Forest and Vanderbilt is bowl eligible.
This isn’t even a ridiculous goal considering Vanderbilt will be favored in all four of these games, three of which will be at home.
It starts with Ole Miss on Saturday. Beat Ole Miss and I think Vandy will be bowling come December.
11. USC’s final TD counts; Vegas explodes.
Here’s the video of USC struggling to beat Utah in case you missed it. (In a piece of karmic justice, the only decent team Lane Kiffin has blown out in two years was Cal, the game I went to watch USC play last season).
The official score was posted as 17-14 because officials took the touchdown off the board due to a celebration penalty against USC.
That meant people who’d taken Utah +8 were the winners.
Except, the Pac 12 said the officials had messed up. The actual score should have been 23-14 USC.
Yep, an absolute mess. Some sports books paid out the initial score while others paid out the altered score.
Leave it to Lane Kiffin to turn a win into a steaming pile of…
However, credit where credit is due, stealing Tyler Bray from San Diego State might be the single greatest gift of the Kiffin regime. In case you haven’t been able to tell, I fell in love with Tyler Bray this weekend. (In a purely nonsexual manner, of course). Here is Bray’s Rivals profile. While he was a mid-term enrollee, note that only Fresno State, San Diego State, and Tennessee are listed as giving him offers.
Last week’s Starting 11