You may notice something odd or off about this week’s column, as I am finding myself in a weird place this week. Which for me is not exactly a novel event. I couldn’t find my stick of Blistex this past weekend, and badly in need of some balm, I had to use Vaseline Lip Therapy. I didn’t even realize my lips were depressed. But after three days of lip therapy, they were breaking down and going on and on about their feelings and childhood trauma like the food my mom used to make: pizza with sauce made of tomato soup, Flintstones & St Joseph’s Children’s Aspirin sandwiches, and worst of all, “Steak-umm”. By mid-week, my lips were trying to take my tongue with them to Vaseline Couples Therapy. I am glad they are healing their emotional wounds, but it really makes it uncomfortable to eat in restaurants. Luckily, my hands are still unaffected, so I can type the Picks & Pans undaunted.
Grambling State at Jackson State (3:00)
This week historic Grambling State became Grumbling State, as they boycotted practice over issues with administration. Seems at Grambling State, the players take long bus rides to away games, while the administration takes a tricked out private jet. Ignoring the staggeringly surreal irony of one of the most recognizable HBCs making its own players sit in the back of the bus…and the front…and the middle, just so long as it doesn’t fly, the administration went one further, adding literal insult to injury when one administrator addressed the team following their latest game. After watching their beloved coach Doug Williams get fired, and after their seventh loss in seven games this year, they had to endure one of the jet-setting suits telling them in their own locker room that they’re physically and mentally soft. I guess we’d all walk out on practice after that. Then again, since they have lost their last 17 games in a row, boycotting practice is pretty redundant.
Jackson State: Rolling
Ghost of Eddie Robinson: Rolling Over
LSU at Ole Miss (6:00, ESPN2)
Les Miles went on one of his classic aimless media rants this week, and I was fortunate enough to be in the room when he did. A reporter asked him how he felt about reversing the roles from last year’s Florida game, where the Gators were the hammer and the Tigers were the nail. Although he didn’t say anything about kissing people on the mouth, he did serve us up a great plate of crazy: “I’ve got a question for you: It was a 14-6 game. We played our ass off, and how anybody could pick the hammer and the nail, when in fact, that hammer, or that nail, or whatever the hell you got picked, we catch a ball down there, we’re fixing to take the lead and we turn it over. I mean explain to me how Kevin Minter, who sets, damn near, the career tackle record in that game, how anybody could ever say ‘hammer and nail.’”
At this point I passed him a note, asking if he was in a hostage situation and was trying to communicate with us through code. It must have nudged him in the direction of lucidity, as he finally started to make some sense. But he was soon back off the rails: “I’m just letting you know I resent that. I resent the fact that suddenly we were nailed. You got it? I mean, honest to Petes.” He then wrapped up the show with an expletive and returned to his regular job of coaching football and screaming at raccoons.
The FBI was unable to find a ransom note so the investigation was dropped, but Miles continues to be on the Federal watch list for really entertaining experimental theater.
Playin’ Like a Son-of-a-b*tch in That Oxford Stadium: 34
Bear-ly Understandin’ You: 20
USC at Notre Dame (6:30, NBC)
It’s been two and a half weeks since Lane Kiffin was fired, but the world still wants USC to lose every game because that’s how much they hate Lane Kiffin. Athletics Director Pat Haden couldn’t have turned him into a more sympathetic character if he made Kiffin barter for his job by pulling his pants to his ankles and shuffling around LAX on his knees screaming, “Ma-Ma!” in his best Erkel voice, and then still firing him. And everyone still hates Lane Kiffin. Kiffin could be bitten by a radioactive wombat and given super powers with which he swore to save every woman and child in distress across the whole world with the strength of ten men…and eleven guys would still show up to kick the crap out of him.
There But for the Grace of Touchdown Jesus Go Them: 31
99% Effective at Preventing Classy Behavior: 23
South Carolina at Tennessee (12:00, ESPN)
Say what you will about Knoxvegas. The mullet capital of the world. Dollywood. It’s only beauty is found in its many picturesque rivers and creeks, with all the waterways flowing within the city limits under a state Bacteriological Advisory for Fecal Coliform. Everything painted Creamsicle. Dollywood!!
But their diners serve the best blended coffee in the country. And if you time your coffee break just right, you can be on hand for their finest pot of the day, a tender blend of their two best coffees: today’s and yesterday’s.
Cock of the Walk: 30
Cock of Nothing: 27
Florida at Missouri (12:21, SEC TV)
Whoever guessed “Ronald Powell” wins the “Which New Starter Will Miss This Week’s Game With A Major Injury” sweepstakes. Congratulations! Of course at this point, it is getting pretty easy, since the number of starters left healthy enough to play is getting so small, the odds of guessing the next one to go is getting pretty good. Just remember there is still plenty of time before kickoff for other entries to share this week’s prize. For those of you who thought you had a share of the winnings by guessing Michael Taylor, reports of his injury were found to be erroneous. Contrary to earlier rumors, Taylor does not have a detached retina. It’s just emotionally unavailable.
Helping to mitigate the soaring injury rate for UF is the fact that since Antonio Morrison’s unappreciated Benji impression, Gator players have stayed clear of the arrest blotter. Much of the credit goes to coach Muschamp, for his increased disciplinary message and also for his successful go-green campaign that convinced GPD officers to stop using their gas-guzzling squad cars and instead make all their patrols on police bikes. Now, when they want to arrest one of the UF players, they have to say, “Okay buddy, get in the basket.” Have you seen what a 300-pound lineman does to a Huffy handlebar basket? The Gators may never have another player successfully arrested again.
As for the game, Missouri has the longest active streak in the nation in causing turnovers from opposing offenses. There are literally countless things that the Florida offense either cannot or does not do, and one of them is actually positive: they do not turn the ball over anymore. Their defense, however does, and Missouri is a pass-happy team. This may be the pick-fest Gator fans hoped to see last week in Baton Rouge.
Well, there WAS quite a pick-fest going on in the stands over in Red Stick last Saturday, but they were not picks of quarterback throws; they were picks of the belly button, rear end and nose.
Hopefully the same kind of pick-fest does not occur in Missouri. That’s not something you want going on in a state whose motto is “Show Me”…
Lizards Rule: 27
Tiger’s Stool: 13