(Via Crystal LoGiudice/USA Today Sports)
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: we were just about to serve the homemade apple turnovers when LSU barged in the door with a vat of gumbo. After telling people to “hush”, the uninvited house guest in purple and gold shoved heaping portions of the stew in front of the already full house guests. Then, LSU sat on the couch and changed the channel to a terrible movie about Edie Sedgwick called Ciao! Manhattan. It was better than making it through another hour of Christopher Cross.
Welcome to TV Party, a weekly segment where we preview ten of the week’s most exciting match-ups in college football so you know when to grab some beer and ignore the outside world.
This week: our football Saturday will be marked by chicken salad finger sandwiches, white wine, and pumpkin spiced anything and everything, as well as some soft rock*. No, not “that” tape of soft rock. CVS Bangers is strictly reserved for weekends unlike this one. We just want to entertain in a polite manner (and cry immensely while trying to pretend this is what we want to do).
“Revenge is like serving cold cuts.” – Tony Soprano
An editor at Tuesdays with Horry reported to me a few weeks ago that University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari was spotted at a Dunkin Donuts in the Big Apple. Unless Calipari was hammering out a point-shaving deal with the Five Families (not unheard of in UK basketball history, and not above the suspicion of the editor who told me about the Cal sighting), his squad this year promises to be nearly unstoppable. The problem with UK’s team last year was that, with the exception of Kyle Wiltjer (who has since transferred to Gonzaga), the team was a mix of highly touted but underperforming freshmen. While people claim that such is always the risk with Cal’s rip-and-run, one-and-done recruiting philosophy, they fail to realize that last year was the first where Cal had to deal almost exclusively with freshmen: the three previous teams had veterans like Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller to provide some level of cohesion amid a sea of talent. No one would seriously argue that Willie Cauley-Stein is Patrick Patterson, but we’ll take the former when we have a historically talented recruiting class coming in, even without Andrew Wiggins. The SEC and the country as a whole is on notice: UK is coming for revenge, and I don’t anticipate it being pretty.
Why are we in Berkeley and the stands are full of Ohio State fans? Can someone explain why Nick Saban is running an up-tempo offense? Why is there a fox running around a football field? Did Joel Stave just put the ball on the ground? Why are these Airheads making me cry? IT’S LIKE THE FLAVOR IS RUNNING THROUGH MY BODY. SWEET MAGNIFICENT MYSTERY WHITE FLAVOR, I HAVE CRACKED YOUR CODE. (YOU TOOK TOO MUCH, DUDE. YOU’RE TRIPPIN’ BALLZZZZZ)
Yes, you were on LSD from Thursday until Sunday morning. No, everything is fine. You didn’t burn anyone’s couch, and you certainly didn’t come close to losing to Akron. But I don’t think your perception of the world is going to be right for awhile. It might be crippled going forward, but that’s what happens when you visit Lubbock and then proceed to stand out in the Arizona desert. Don’t worry – you’re still sane, and you can still call out bad officiating. You just had a bad trip with Jesse Palmer – it’s going to be alright.
Please come back, Art Briles. The (mental) state of Texas needs you!
James invited me to give a few thoughts on each of the games. I am not nearly the college football addict he is, though few are. My responses will be in italics. – Rory Masterson
Thanks for joining me, Rory! And thank you reader for allowing me to pick a slate of Top 25 games that I am only qualified for by way of too much time on my hands on Saturday. If you haven’t heard, Texas A&M and Alabama is on tap this week (EDIT: as well as some talk of impermissible benefits, y’all). But there are other items of interest in Texas too. Items like Longhorn football. I don’t even know if there is enough ESPN money that can save Mack Brown if things fall apart. Mack Brown schadenfreude not floating your boat? Well then, there’s Texas Tech and TCU. Ah, Kliff Kingsbury – the cure for the common Texas archetype. Not satisfied with that? Then, there’s Bay – wait, they have a bye week? Please play again, Baylor. That would be super (yes, please)! Enough Texas talk. It’s starting to smell like brisket in here – LET’S GET IT!