Picks and Pans: Week 1

Following an offseason riddled with criminal accusations, scandals and firings, GC’s very own David Parker is, like you, more than ready for the 2012 football season to kick off.

At the very least, with a whole slew of games scheduled, including the Gators’ Week 1 matchup with Bowling Green, he’ll finally have something, or someone, new to make fun of.

Hawaii @ #1/#3 USC

This fall, Showtime network debuts its new edgy, provocative series that explores the underground world of the douchebaggery that dare not speak its name: “The K-Word.” The K-Word has been an intriguing mystery to everyone outside the inner circle of bad hiring decisions, always failing in a loud, bombastic fashion, leaving one program or franchise after another crippled for years to come, and astonishingly falling up to higher and higher-echelon head coaching positions each time. It’s a story that could only be coupled with a program like USC, which suffers what is on paper supposed to be one of the harshest group of NCAA sanctions to a major program since the SMU Death Penalty, yet in practice somehow keeps signing top-rated recruiting classes and is anointed as the media darling to win the national championship. In related news, Tuesday Tom Arnold was convicted of felonious canoodling of an under-aged marsupial and sentenced to 15 years in maximum security prison … and this morning NBC announced Tom Arnold will be hosting next year’s Oscars.

Rainbows: 24

Pot of Mold: 38

North Texas @ #1/#3LSU

Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed this summer from the Tigers for breaking undisclosed team rules. Apparently in Baton Rouge, bogarting is seriously frowned upon. But he has been very busy since leaving the program. Seizing on the popularity of his nickname “The Honey Badger,” he’s decided to blend his huge love for hip-hip with his huge lack of intelligence that led him to confuse badgers with bears. He is in studio this week recording the first-ever conceptual rap album based on the characters of Winnie the Pooh, titled “Tigger, Please!” Look for a December release party at Janoris Jenkins’ house, with the first single, “Mo’ Hunny, Mo’ Problems” to drop the night of the BCS title game. 

Mean Green: Will trade jersey for coke

Mean Tigers: Will trade jersey for coke (ahem)

#8 Michigan vs 2 Alabama @ Arlington, Texas

The team that Les Miles wishes he never turned down faces the team Les Miles wishes Nick Saban did turn down. Michigan appeared to have arrived a good one to two seasons early last year under new coach Brady “Fire” Hoke!, and it has built some lofty aspirations of a national championship run in 2012. It is fitting that the game will be played in Arlington, the location of our national cemetery, because they will know exactly how to conduct the military-style court-martial that those national title aspirations will receive Saturday night.

Crimson & White: A’cruising

Blue & What My People Call Corn: A bruising

Murray State @ #7 Florida State

Florida State is being heralded as a strong national title contender this year, not because they are a remarkable team, but because they have a remarkably easy schedule. Which is easy to understand, as Saturday night the Semis take on the Murray State Racers, the first of many teams on the 2012 FSU slate that plays a sport that is not actually football. Saturday night also marks a very special occasion for coach Jimbo Fisher. It was on this very same night many, many years ago that a saggy-eyed young senior from Samford University attended his first Florida-Florida State football game, and after watching the Gators destroy the Semis, was the lucky recipient of another game being played by some UF sorority sisters called, “Weakest Antelope.” This is a game where the girls pick out the most pathetic loser at the bar and see how fast they can score with him and then laugh about it later. In the still putrescence of the Tallahassee night, silence broken only by the sounds of partying Gators fans carried on the wind, young Jimbo lost his virginity under the Doak Campbell grandstands to the lovely Gators co-ed. She immediately gave it back to him. She was later heard to tell her sisters it was the most horrifying 8 seconds of her life. And ever since that night, Jimbo has dreamed of leaving Doak Campbell Grandstands & Puppet Show in glory, but instead usually repeats the experience of that night, with other people leaving the stadium wondering what the hell they just experienced and why oh why it had to happen to them.

reF$U: 2

Murray State: Automobiles are an equipment violation

#9 South Carolina @ Vandy (Thurs)

South Carolina has now started every season with a Thursday night game since 1934. Or at least that’s how long it has seemed to take to get this wretched ball of giblets off the schedule to allow another program to have the spotlight – one with a more entertaining offense. Like whoever is the lowest scoring soccer team in Iceland. What began as a strategy of branding the Gamecocks nationally as the season-opening Thursday Night Funhouse of Jingling Spurs, has become what USA Network calls, “Our highest-rated rerun of “Covert Affairs” all year!”

The Cluck & Duck: 13

The Commode Doors: 11

Notre Dame vs Navy @ Dublin, Ireland

Notre Dame has become so dreadfully bad that they actually have to go to Ireland to sell tickets. They have retained extra security as well as geneticists to ensure they are able to distinguish between their Fighting Irish mascot and the 65,000 regular Fighting Irish who will also be at the game. The Navy–Notre Dame series has been played every year since 1914, making it the longest uninterrupted intersectional series in college football. Navy has only won this game three times since 1963, when Roger Staubach was the signal-calling Swabby, though all three have come in the last five years. 2012 marks the 98th anniversary of their first game and the 92nd anniversary of the last time anyone could remember why they play each other. The Irish begin their annual tour of playing every service academy in the nation. Twice. If they lose to the Naval Academy one more time, Notre Dame will replace them on the schedule with the Police Academy, which hasn’t faced the Irish since the 1984 classic game known in football lore as Mahoney’s Miracle. The Navy Midshipmen are coached by Ken Niumatalolo, a Samoan Mormon from Hawai’i. He is half a Benetton ad all by himself. No confirmation yet on a 1964 clandestine evening at Don Ho’s between Stephenie Meyer‘s father and Jack Thompson’s mother.

You see, Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” books, is a Mormon—and Jack Thompson, the quarterback that inexplicably replaced Doug Williams at Tampa Bay, while Doug went off and won a Super Bowl with Washington, is Samoan—and Don Ho was a popular Hawai’ian singer and variety show host in the ‘60s, who was known to throw pretty wild celebrity parties. The truly good jokes are the ones you have to explain. 

Notre Dame: 38

Navy: 33 1/3 (the rpm best suited to really get the most out of a Village People song)

Elon @ North Carolina

As the Tar Heels contemplate their future under sanctions from an academic scandal, they play host to what is either a program from a quaint little Mayberry-like North Carolina town, or Tom Brady’s girlfriend. We’ll know by halftime if the opposition is screaming at reporters about how the receivers keep dropping everything. The only noted Elon alumnus, Ward Burton, will give the invocation, and then the Phoenixes from Elon will emulate their hero by running around in circles all afternoon.

UNC: 42

Elon: Something French and zesty

Miami @ Boston College

Remember when they called this game The Catholics vs The Criminals? Like … currently. What’s really sad about the scandal of the ongoing investigation into the Hurricane program is that it tarnishes the image of all the classic previous Hurricane scandals. This is a program that built dynastic eras of crime and thuggery … the RIGHT way. This new scandal could rock the program to its very foundation of concrete with various dead bodies sealed up inside it. The Yahoo! Sports investigation turned up cash, prostitutes, entertainment in multimillion-dollar homes and yachts, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), lavish travel and, on one occasion, an abortion. What ever happened to the simple, traditional gesture of kicking opposing players in the face and shooting up the locker room with uzis? And worst of all to have as the face of the scandal, this whiney little Ponzi brat, Nevin Shapiro, is the final insult. Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp are rolling over in their hyperbaric chambers of crack. Good thing at least one team and program in this game is forever associated with an entity that does NOT wallow in years of ugly scandal and shame: The Catholic Church! As the Chez Quis Matre’ D said to Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago: I weep for the future.

Legal Eagles: Busy

Football Eagles: Boring

Kentucky @ 25 Louisville (Sunday)

This game has become so painfully uninteresting that they are playing it on Sunday, hoping that between the after-church coffee hour and pre-NASCAR grain alcohol hour, people won’t notice this annual wart removal known to locals as The Bluegrass Clash and Sour Mash.

Kentucky: 21

The Other Kentucky: 20

Bowling Green @ #24 Florida

This matchup between two of Urban Meyer’s last three schools has interesting synchronicity. Saturday the Gators will play against Urban’s first team, while last year they battled all season against his third team: themselves. The preseason has gone well for Will Muschamp, as there have been fewer than 30 major injuries to key impact players, there have been no hidden costs for replacing dozens of crushed sideline coolers, and to date nobody has called him a Padawan. Gators fans are excited to see the new wrinkles in Brent Pease’s offense they didn’t see last year, like the forward pass, the forward run and the forward block. However, there will be some things the fans will no doubt miss this season, like the pre-snap Meerkat formation and fair-catching the shotgun snaps. Coach ‘Champ has improved team unity this year by cracking down on special teams mistakes, instituting a series of new rules, including (1) Tackling is no longer merely allowed on coverage units – it is encouraged, (2) Only two kickers can be seriously injured at one time, and (3) Punt returners may no longer treat the ball as a game of Gnip-Gnop.

As many know, the Gators saw its 137-straight-game home sellout streak end last year. Fans are staying away from The Swamp. And so the Gators did what anyone would do who has let themselves go and looked pretty ugly for a few years and lost all ability to attract anyone: it got a makeover. The Swamp has all-new eye-catching accessories (logos and signs) and has put in a lot of hard work to look slimmer and more streamlined. And you can’t blame fans for losing interest. When you put out a lot of money for a big date, you expect to be shown a good time and hopefully score at least once.

Gators: 52

Bowling Green: What, you mean Ohio or Kentucky?….

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David Parker
One of the original columnists when Gator Country first premiered, David “PD” Parker has been following and writing about the Gators since the eighties. From his years of regular contributions as a member of Gator Country to his weekly columns as a partner of the popular defunct niche website Gator Gurus, PD has become known in Gator Nation for his analysis, insight and humor on all things Gator.