Cleaning Up the Mess is here to make sense of what just happened at your weekend-long television party. Who put Goldfish in the blender? And why is the thermostat on 42?
This week: Arizona State invited everyone to your house on Thursday night because lol why not, man? The SEC East just wanted to talk about Rob Schneider and how no one in this country respects the First Amendment anymore. Oklahoma State thinks you’re not real, man. And Michigan was the most disgusting, uncouth guest that you had to welcome into your home because you work with him.
Michigan football is at a low that is guided by Brady Hoke’s idea of how Fielding Yost would’ve wanted it. On Saturday during Minnesota’s rout in the Big House, quarterback Shane Morris was leveled early in the 4th Quarter by an illegal hit that was not called. Morris got up from the ground but not before almost falling back to the ground and needing the assistance of tackle Ben Braden. The Wolverines had two timeouts left and were trailing by 23 points yet Hoke decided to let Morris stay on the field to audible jeers from the home crowd.
Devin Gardner was then placed on to the field to replace Morris. He would later have to go back to the sideline after his helmet popped off, per the NCAA officiating rules. Third-string quarterback Russell Bellomy could not find his helmet to go in for Gardner which prompted Hoke to take up the pillar of Michigan Men of the past and instill toughness in his concussed quarterback. Morris trotted back out onto the field to jeers directed at the coaching staff who, once again, had two timeouts to get ensure that the sophomore did not go back on the field. It appears that an official even asked if they would like to use one of their allotted breaks.
After the game, Hoke’s press conference revealed that he takes his cues on player safety from Mike Shanahan:
“I don’t know if he had a concussion or not, I don’t know that,” Hoke said. “Shane’s a pretty competitive, tough kid. And Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so, believe me, if he didn’t want to be he would’ve come to the sideline or stayed down.”
This is just senseless drivel from a man that ought to know better but clearly doesn’t. His effort to shift the blame and paint the picture of Morris as a “competitive kid” is no excuse for him to check out when it comes to player management. For all of Hoke as well as Athletic Director Dave Brandon’s talk of Michigan doing things The Right Way, this was a clear indication that their interpretation of The Right Way was something that was birthed in the Gilded Age.
Michigan, one of the most storied college football programs in America, is suffering from a toxic culture that is embedded in an idea that Michigan will prevail just because it’s Michigan. With a record of 2-3, a Coca-Cola induced burp in the face of ticket holders and a clear lack of concern for player safety, it’s time to re-consider Brandon and Hoke’s Right Way before the sinkhole gets any deeper around Ann Arbor.
In places that don’t look like dumpster fires, the SEC West houses three teams within the AP Top 10 and six that are within the AP Top 25. The lone exception are the Arkansas Razorbacks who took the sixth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies to overtime in the Arlington Monument of Oil Money. The two teams played in the Southwest Classic, a game forged between the two programs in 2009 to re-kindle the nostalgia for a rivalry that existed in the absolutely corrupt, now defunct Southwest Conference. The game now serves as a showcase for these two new money programs in their new SEC home.
For almost the entirety of the match, everything seemed to be going Arkansas’ way. The Razorbacks were powering their way through the Texas A&M defense with the running back tandem of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins rushing for a combined total of 226 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was also shutting down all of Texas A&M’s explosive receivers and containing wunderkind Kenny Hill. The best play of the game did not come from the backfield or any skill players for the Razorbacks though. It was a beautifully executed fake punt from Australian punter Sam Irwin-Hill that is indicative of Bret Bielama’s O’Doyle-like id.
The momentum that the Razorbacks built through four quarters seemingly evaporated on a bad snap from Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen. The bungled possession led to a punt and a Aggie possession that copied and pasted most of Bielema’s rushing attack towards a touchdown that pushed the game into overtime. In the end, a perfectly placed 25 yard pass from Hill to receiver Malcome Kennedy that led to the final score of the 35-28.
Seemingly invincible Texas A&M had some of their problem areas on offense and defense exposed. However, the 2014 Southwest Classic had more to say about Arkansas’ problem antics in an SEC West filled with five undefeated teams. The Razorbacks look dangerous to any team looking to make it out of the division alive. Alive in the divisional race may look like a one-loss team this year.
Florida State’s status as top dog is under attack. It looked like they were doomed for upset in Raleigh when Jacoby Brissett miracled his way out of two sacks in order to put the Wolfpack up 24-7. Everyone had their eye on this game given the venue and it’s history of ruining any part of the Seminoles’ postseason ambitions. The cosmos seemed to be lining themselves up towards another FAT GUY CELEBRATION but Jameis Winston and the offense sprinted out front of NC State late in the fourth quarter to win the game 56-41.
The usually accurate Winston threw an uncharacteristic two interceptions. FSU’s defense looked absolutely porous against the Wolfpack that failed to contain the NC State running game and Brissett who seemed to be covered in petroleum jelly for the entirety of the game. Auburn was the only team in 2013 to really challenge the unstoppable force of the Seminoles but this year seems like the Seminoles are destined for a fall.
226 miles away in Columbia, SC, the Missouri Tigers squeaked away with a 21-20 win on a last ditch effort only to further prove that the SEC East is just completely bonkers. South Carolina now has two conference losses on their record while Missouri is technically the top dog in the division. The Tigers play Georgia next week, a team that needed all four quarters to beat Tennessee. The Volunteers seem just as dangerous to the rest of the pack as Arkansas is to the West. The only difference is that one of the teams within the East lost to the Indiana Hoosiers football program. This year, the SEC looks entirely Tommy Lee Jones’ Two Face and just as crazed about destruction.
OTHER LEFTOVER PARTY FAVORS
- Ohio State beat Cincinnati 50-28 but not before Buckeye strength coach Anthony Schlegel body slammed a foolish field stormer. Of course, the Internet acted appropriately.
- Arizona State was burned in a 62-27 win against UCLA that involved a wide variety of turnovers, mishaps and these two guys blocking the most aggressive thing in the Arizona night: wind.
- Oklahoma State welcomed Texas Tech into their haunted house of terror complete with paddles, a dark ride tunnel and a huge mascot head that may or may not grow real hair. The Red Raiders naturally shit the bed and lost 45-35.
- SMU was hammered by Dallas metroplex rival TCU. The best summary for the Mustang’s outing was this play where everything that you knew about football instantaneously exploded. BONUS: There was a fox in SMU’s Ford Stadium before kickoff.
- Kansas fired Charlie Weis after a 23-0 loss to Texas. The Jayhawks face an uphill battle trying to find a coach to build a program that has only gone to a bowl once in its 123 year history.
- Stanford handed Washington it’s first loss of the season and is now looking towards Oregon as the Ducks maintain their elite position atop the AP Top 25.
- Kenny Chesney was the celebrity guest picker on College Gameday. He played a song in a coffee house setting but weirder things have been said about Columbia, SC.
- Ole Miss and Memphis have a rivalry that’s kind of petered out over the years although the fans still absolutely loathe one another. Yet, there was no lack of emotion on the part of the players in the 23-7 win by the Rebels.