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: A&M sends the Gamecocks back to the bars early. LSU is doing drunk magic tricks. And who left these think pieces about “piercing the armor of a powerhouse” in the living room?
It’s August, and there are only 27 more days until the first college football kickoff between Abilene Christian and Georgia State. With the 2014-2015 season upon us, many of those warm, fuzzy sentiments about the sport will descend upon our emotions and remind us that yes, Saturdays in the fall are the best. Yet, tradition in college football is not without its strange bedfellow of chaos. There are certain notable tweaks to the structure of naming a champion, as well as who is coaching where. In an effort to get you, dear reader, ready for the season, I have rounded up all the nuggets that I have deemed important. If you’re into preseason statistical analysis about your rooting interests’ chances at glory, please read SBNation’s Bill Connelly. Otherwise, welcome to my roundup of necessary college football information.
The BCS National Championship Game, the final computer- and poll-generated practice in automated futility before the FBS’s playoff system comes to fruition next season, played out last night in operatic, storybook fashion. Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback, led an 80-yard, 58-second final drive which concluded in a two-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin, sealing an 18-point comeback victory on Winston’s twentieth birthday. The SEC’s seven-year run of preeminence in college football came to a close, at least for the moment, and a valiant performance from Auburn will surely be lost to the annals of time. No one ever remembers who finished second.
While all of that is well and good, including the 100-yard Kermit Whitfield kickoff return which brought the Seminoles back to within striking distance late in the fourth quarter, the real story happened on ESPN2: the BCS Title Talk portion of ESPN’s BCS MegaCast, an all-eyes-on-us cavalcade of programming which included the game itself, analysis from college coaches and, of course, Title Talk. Jemele Hill and Michael Smith co-hosted a quasi-ESPN office party complete with appearances from country singer Taylor Hicks, actress Cheryl Hines, SEC Network poster boy Tim Tebow and Texas A&M renegade Johnny “Football” Manziel. For the first quarter of the game, Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer seemed entirely uninterested in being there, carrying on side conversations between themselves. Smith spent most of the game attempting to hand out sliders and other finger foods, creating the illusion of a jovial atmosphere. In typical conglomerate fashion, ESPN attached the hashtag #TitleTalk to the program and to the game in general, which elicited a wide variety of responses from participants and onlookers alike.
“WORST MOTHERFUCKER NEVER LOVED US.”
This is the first line from Drake’s “Worst Behavior.” I have been listening to this song a lot lately because I am one of those motherfuckers who never loved Drake, got a late pass and decided to listen to this album a month ago. This song has stood out to me because it’s Drake’s musical double middle finger salute. It may be counteracted by “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” but still, this song is the hardest I’ve heard by the rapper pejoratively referred to as Young Garnier Fructis by “Ghostface Killah.”
It’s a song that I didn’t see coming, but that’s because I never held any microscope to the former DeGrassi star. I just assumed Drake was going to keep doing Drake things, like sulking sensually. Nope, Drake has a breaking point when he can’t stop thinking about people like me who never thought he did anything other than the aforementioned. “Worst Behavior” is a Twitter rant, a response to being disrespected. It’s Roy Hibbert’s “y’all motherfuckers don’t watch us” set to a trap beat. It was the soundtrack to my attitude on Friday night, when my social media outlets filled with solid orange glee from Clemson fans.
[Author’s note: it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything college football related and I would like apologize to the .01% of dedicated readers of my weekly posts. Sometimes day jobs get hectic and sometimes you tend to put your hobbies on the shelf for awhile. There. That’s my excuse]
The last Thursday in November is usually reserved for the gluttonous holiday known as Thanksgiving. It’s a time of year where extended families gather around a table and pretend to tolerate each other long enough to clean off their plate of pumpkin pie. But this shortened work week dedicated to mass tryptophan consumption, hectic Black Holiday shopping and drunken diatribes about Miley Cyrus from your crazy uncle would not be complete without the catharsis found in hating the hell out of your rival college’s football team.
The last Saturday in November has become the showcase for the most bitter rivalries in college football. A lot of the storied match-ups are here: Auburn-Alabama, Clemson-South Carolina, Ohio State-Michigan, UCLA-USC. The whole week is a build up of antagonizing opposing fan bases with Thanksgiving serving as a (sometimes) temporary muzzle on baseless accusations about other fan bases and the players that represent the university. Once all of the leftovers have been stored away, it’s an echo chamber of disapproval and disgust. To lose to the other side will mean 365 days of eating the crow you let loose with every jab at the opposing team. To win means laughing endlessly at your opponent with all the joy of a sick child as he burns ants using the rays of a summer sun and a magnifying glass.
Rivalry week taps into the petulant child in every fan base and it would be unjust for us at TwH to not feed into the fervor that this week brings. That’s why I bring you a biased look at each rivalry as well as how I view their fans.
This week’s College Gameday is heading to the University of Washington for the first time ever since the show’s first broadcast in 1987. This is huge news for the Huskies, who find themselves in the middle of a period of resurgence as of late. But if you’re an individual on the East Coast (such as myself), you probably know very little about Seattle, the city that houses UDub. In fact, the only thing you probably know is that Seattle is the home of Starbucks, rain and grunge. And that’s fine. Be prepared to face the unknown. Seattle is strange to you, but don’t fret, it’s not Portland weird.
Also – I am not really sure what the Washington fan base is like. I’ve seen them pop on random message boards from time to time recalling the Don James era, but I am really unfamiliar with how these people operate or how they tail- WAIT, WHAT? THEY TAILGATE ON BOATS? CAN WE GO TO THE GAME NOW? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE.
Enough of this wishful thinking about boatgating – LET’S GET IT.