In college football, noon games are dreaded by fans because they are supposed to be far too early for both teams involved. That after getting up before dawn to start rigorous workouts nearly every day during their entire playing careers, somehow noon is suddenly just way too early to function properly. Players start taking the field with their helmets on backwards and cleats tucked into their pants. Fans can start drinking heavily at nine in the morning, be blind drunk by 10:30am, and still be capable of going through all their superstitious rituals all day long…but a football team that is stone sober, well rested and in the peak of human physical fitness and mental awareness will spontaneously combust if it has to stick a toe outside the locker room before 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon.
There are a lot of big games this Saturday starting at noon. Everyone bring their marshmallow sticks.
Kansas at TCU (12:00, FSN)
When Charlie Weis was a child, he had such a weight problem that he couldn’t play the same games as other children. For example, he could only play ‘Seek”. He could still do double-dutch with the other kids, but his version consisted of lying on the gym floor while a couple of girls slapped him with jump ropes and sang the school song. At his neighborhood pool, they used to play “Sharks and Minnows and A Large Sunken Air Craft Carrier”. And of course they would still play Red Rover, only when they would get to Charlie, the chant would go something like, “Red Rover, Red Rover, just stay where you are, we’re fine over here, no really we’re good – we’re probably going to go on home now anyway, no my whole family’s got the smallpox so we can’t have visitors – I guess we’ll just see you next summer or at school or something, whatever.”
Horned Toads: 34
Giant Toad: 10
Missouri at Georgia (12:00, ESPN)
The fan bases of Georgia and Missouri are geographically isolated and have seldom had much contact before the Tigers joined the SEC East. However, these two nations of fans do share some distinct similarities. (1) Both have the same three favorite pastimes: porch sitting, kicking rocks and hillbilly handfishin’ (which is also a way of catching catfish with your hands, called ‘noodling’); (2) Missouri fans boast of having the tastiest recipe for critters while Georgia fans claim to be the best at cooking varmints; and (3) Both practice safe sex by putting warning stickers on the livestock that kicks. Both states also feature their own oddball laws. Some towns in Missouri for instance have a law making it unlawful to provide beer or other intoxicants to elephants, while in Atlanta it is against the law to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp (a parking meter, however is perfectly legal). However the most plentiful thing they have in common are really dumb students. In their honor, the score prediction of this game will be in the form of actual test answers from students of these fine institutions.
The First French Fries Were Cooked in Greece: 31
The Capital of Missouri Is The “M”: 23
Oklahoma vs Texas (Dallas, 12:00, ABC)
This is a game of famous, national title-winning coaches who are both stuck in major identity crises. First up we have Big Game Bob Stoops who has been trying to make himself relevant lately by taking transparent pot shots at the SEC. It’s a recruiting ploy to try to recreate the image of his program and his conference. High school blue chippers the nation over are saying, “Did you hear what Bob Stoops said about the SEC?”….to which high school blue chippers the nation over are saying, “Bob Who?” The problem Bob is having is that when recruits see him show up at the end of the “Hello” commercial, shaking that newly-minted high school star’s hand, they ask what that kid’s doing talking to the Daniel Baldwin. That’s because the last time Bob Stoops won a national title, the kids he’s recruiting this year were four years old.
Then of course there is Mack Brown of Texas. The Longhorns were one of the first programs to have a HCIW (Head Coach In Waiting) in Will Muschamp, who after three years of waiting bolted for Florida the first chance he got. Now the Longhorns are pioneering a new position, the EHCIW (Ex-Head-Coach-In-Waiting). Mack Brown’s identity crisis has been discussed at length in this space in previous weeks, and it will continue to be, primarily because as long as he remains EHCIW, I don’t have to come up with any new material for Texas games. Mack Brown is Private Hudson from Aliens, blasting his weapons in the general direction of the attacking aliens, showering the room with an impressive display of impotent lights and bellowing out smack-talk to any acid-blooded space monster within earshot, completely unaware that (A) the aliens have neither ears nor a grasp of the English language, and (B) the floor is about to explode and the alien curs will emerge to drag him to his loud, grizzly, severely overacted death.
Claims the SEC Majorettes Have b’Ance: 37
Game Over Man! Game Over!: 28
South Carolina at Arkansas (12:21, SEC TV)
Gamecocks Memorandum: Jadeveon Clowney has informed Coach Steve Spurrier that he will not be available for this Saturday’s game against Arkansas because he found blue M&Ms in the player’s lounge. His Letter Of Intent clearly states that there are to be no blue M&Ms anywhere in the football facilities except on religious holidays and during AMC marathons of The Godfather saga (excepting Godfather III, which is never allowed to be aired, not because it was so bad, but because that is higher than any SC student can count). Spurrier told the media that he didn’t care if Clowney had blue M&Ms or orange Reese’s Pieces, it didn’t matter to him if Clowney plays or not. The next day he backtracked his comments, adding that he would gladly host the executives of Mars, Inc., Hershey’s and Russell Stover for a sleep-over and dress all week as the Cadbury Bunny if it would help make Clowney happy enough to return to the team. Clearly Spurrier is getting soft. And anyone who has seen him at the beach lately knows exactly where all that softness is congregating: a white bag of tapioca pudding right around the abdomen, with two not-so-fun-bags sitting on top. I think we know what South Carolina has been doing with all those blue M&Ms.
Flabby Coot: 24
Pigs Are Moot: 20
Florida at LSU (3:30, CBS)
It’s that time again for the annual delight that is the Muschamp-Miles game week interview with Gator Country. However, before we enjoy that meeting of the minds, a little preamble on the game. To get a feel of how the LSU offense might perform against UF, I looked up their schedule to see how they executed against good defenses this year. However, the data may be unreliable since the sample size is presently zero. One thing is clear in this series: while Gator fans soil their union suits every other year in fear of playing LSU in Baton Rouge, the actual Gator team should feel confident enough to go commando with no fear of mussing the floor. A few facts about what happens when this series treks to Red Stick:
UF is 4-3 since 1999 in Tiger Stadium.
UF is 8-4 in LSU’s house since 1989.
UF is 11-5 in Baton Rouge since 1981.
UF is 16-14 all-time and has not had a losing record there in nearly a quarter of a century.
There is no reason for Gator fans to fear playing in Baton Rouge. Florida has owned LSU’s home field far more that LSU has over the last 40 years and change (and actually, counting backwards, UF owns the series edge every year all the way back to the first game in 1937).
Tigers Hate 24
Gator Bait 17
I now give you the transcript of yesterday’s conference call with the head coaches…
GC: I want to thank you both for giving Gator Country this exclusive again this year. Our fans really look forward to this each season.
Champ: My pleasure. Florida has the best fans in the world and we’re happy to do whatever we can to enhance their fan experience.
Miles: Always happy to do a favor for Will. We still have a lot of good memories here when Will was defensive coordinator on my staff when we won our first national title back in 2003.
GC: Actually…wasn’t Nick Saban the LSU head coach that year?
Miles: Oh, I guess we’re all history majors here, huh kid?
GC: Well I was just…
Miles: You think it’s easy to go out and coach a big conference game at home when your boss decides to have a huge celebration all weekend and honor a team at halftime that was coached by the current head coaches of your two biggest rivals? No, it’s great! I hope this year for our anniversary, my wife invites her college boyfriend and her high school sweetheart over and has a big party for ‘em. We can watch old videos of them in wild, drunken shenanigans on Spring Break.
GC: I didn’t mean to pour salt on…did you say “shenanigans”…?
Miles: Shenanigans, hijinks, monkeyshines, what are you an English major, too? Dang, you think you’re in for a friendly interview and next thing you know, boom!
GC: Let’s talk about the game. Coach Muschamp, with the way that the Razorbacks were able to open the game finding big holes in your defensive line – something that hasn’t happened all year – are you concerned about the absence of Dominique Easley in the middle?
Champ: That’s actually a misconception. Our D-line played really well Saturday. Only problem was that Arkansas’s offensive line was seeing things.
GC: How do you mean?
Champ: They must have thought our guys were their own girlfriends, because they held them all night long.
Miles: They must be blind. Everyone knows they have fat little girlfriends.
GC: Coach Miles, that’s not your line – isn’t that a quip from Mike Leach?
Miles: I’m not the one writing this piece of crap!
GC: Point taken. Coach Muschamp, do you expect your defense to start the game faster than it did against Arnkansas?
Champ: Son, that question is like a television set on a honeymoon: unnecessary! We’re going to come out and play well and execute our game plan. We’ll have some special looks and disguises as we do for every big game, but we’ll need to keep those specifics under the hat.
GC: Coach Miles, given how vulnerable your defense has looked this season, giving up over 25 points a game and being obliterated by the Georgia offense, what have you done to address the defensive issues?
Miles: Well let me tell you something, we’ve been playing some pretty good defense around here for a long time. We’ve got our tricks, too. And I’ll say that we’ll be ready for many of the wrinkles that Florida will have for us. For instance our scouting report says that they lost their starting quarterback Jeff Driscoll for the year and their new starter has never played a road game in this kind of loud, hostile environment. Well we didn’t just fall off the bourbon truck here in Baton Rouge. Jeff Driscoll is the damn founder of a company that manufactures strawberries and Boo-Berry and other sundry grocery items. We may not know our history or proper grammar, but we know our produce on the bayou. We’re going to be ready for their top gun taking the snaps Saturday in Breath Valley.
GC: Breath Valley?
Miles: Ever been in an enclosed space with 92,000 cajuns belching corn dogs and ruckus juice?