There's a common story about Samuel Taylor Coleridge in regards to one of his masterworks, Kubla Khan, that reminds me about our slate of games last weekend. The story goes that Coleridge, who regularly torched more opium than your average Tech Co-ed burns through Valtrex prescriptions, was hard at work on what would be his masterpiece.
Apparently the particular dragon he was chasing led Coleridge through an unspeakable and other-worldly paradise. Upon waking, he began furiously transcribing this heavenly place he had visited in his drug-stirred fever dream. As the story goes, he had hundreds of lines worked out in his head, but an unwelcome stranger knocked upon his door, disturbing him. At this crude interruption, the rest of his masterwork vanished from his mind, never to return.
And that's why the poem's title, preface, or sub-title all inevitably refer to the the poem as some form of unfinished -- Kubla Khan: A Fragment.
This was fucking last week for me. Lush and overripe like a Dallas housewife, the slate of football games were going to be the supreme weekend of viewing for the entire season. Tilt stacked upon bountiful tilt of great matchups. Until reality broke through the door like an enraged ex-girlfriend hopped up on a cocktail of PMS and PCP. In this case, that reality, like Coleridge's unwelcome visitor, was the actual reality of the games themselves.
Few of the ones I watched lived up to expectations, and by my expectations, I mean Stoops getting thumbscrewed, Georgia looking something other than inferior to Kansas, and Miami not pantsing the Buckeyes and starting what I'm certain would have been the largest couch and trash fire since the igniting of the Cuyahoga river. The whole thing was upsetting and not even James Madison over Va Tech could sate me. Sunny pleasure-domes with caves of ice indeed, Coleridge.
Here's to hoping this week is the exact opposite of last week. A slate that doesn't look all that attractive, but the outcomes of the games themselves will be gripping and exciting. I'll probably take a look at less games so I can apply more space to game analysis. Ha Ha Ha Ha! Just kidding, I need that space for rants.
Cincinnati at NC State (ESPN) - Jesus, what a fucking yawn. Has anyone else here been disappointed with what Tom O'Brien has done since leaving BC for NC State? Steve Kragthorpe thinks that guy has been underwhelming. One has to think that unless Tommy Boy does something this year, he's on his way out and probably back to the seminary. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is on their long trip back to the middle, as Lester Bangs would say. They'll still probably perform OK in the year after Kelly fled to Notre Dame, but make no mistake, they will suck sooner rather than later. Just like this game.
Kansas at Southern Miss. (ESPN) - I was going to go with California and Nevada, but this game won the coin toss. Turner Gill's start has been as stable and predictable as BP's 2010 business and operational strategy. Lose to South Dakota St., but beat Georgia Tech? Ok, thanks Sybil. Since they can't seem to play a game this season that's not within 3 points of their opponent, then at least this game is likely to be close. Don't even pretend you're going to watch more than 5 minutes of this game unless you're ordering drinks at the bar or trying to chase some strange. Lets call a spade a boring piece of shit football game spade.
Applicable to most games this weekend
11 p.m. eastern:
Georgia Tech at North Carolina (Gameplan) - Who cares? North Carolina is still half a team, and Butch Davis has already placed his house on the market. Georgia Tech just lost to Kansas. Meh^3.
Maryland at #21 West Virginia - (ESPN U) - Is this what we're resorting to for football this week? I mean, I guess, because West Virginia almost just keeled over against Marshall, and any day now Ralph Freidgen is going to keel over on (for?) Maryland. Is this like those turtle races at bars? I simply don't get the appeal. Ho-Hum, Mark Mangino will quietly keep chewing his pork rinds, occasionally spelunking between rolls for a sip of his warm beer.
Vanderbilt at Mississippi (Gameplan) - Houston Nutt watch continues. And by watch, I mean pray for accidental disembowelment of that fat hick in the stupid straw hat on the fucking sideline.
East Carolina at Va. Tech (Not Televised?) - What will those morons in Blacksburg do this week? They square off against coaching genius and urban legend, Crook-Eyed Grimace. I heard last week Ruffin tried to jump up in celebration, failed to achieve liftoff, fell backwards, and promptly sweat out the field into mud pit in under 90 seconds.
#12 Arkansas at Georgia (ESPN) - So, this table of Georgia fans last weekend, complete with Scipio's deck shoes and John Parker Wilson hair cut(s) informed us before their game that there was no way Richt will be fired. A buddy of ours who is generally plugged into things, quietly disagreed. And after the game, I casually leaned over and asked them, "how about now?" Chip Shot Spurrier had just broken one off in their paradigm of coaching, after all, maybe their opinion had changed? They told me to fuck off. Can you imagine?!? I mean, what about me would ever seem condescending or scornful when asking an honest question? Totally uncalled for, imo. Now imagine what happens when Arkansas, a legitimately good team, rolls into Georgia this weekend. Think bubonic plague meets French personal hygiene.
Current state of the Georgia program under Richt
3:30 p.m. eastern:
Air Force at #7 Oklahoma (Not Televised? Bullshit, has to be on FSN somewhere) There are 3 things I confirmed with iron certainty after I watched last week's beat-down of the Seminoles. 1.) Free Shoes plays Defense with 9 players. 2.) Mark Stoops Owes Bob Stoops Money. 3.) Bob Stoops absolutely threatened to sleep with Mark's wife (again) if he didn't throw the game. Her fucking name is Chantel, for god's sake, it's a slam dunk. This was really the diamond bullet between my eyes. Does Bob Stoops lord over the wives of all his coordinators and family members like his own private harem? You bet your sweet ass he does! Every time Landry Jones throws the ball into the mezzanine over an open back in the flat, Stoops licks his lips and adjusts his husky sized khakis, because he knows Mrs. Huepel is going to be visiting him on the game bus home. As for the game, I'm absolutely adamant that, ability to run a logical offensive scheme aside, OU is not that fucking good of a team, and Air Force should be a closer game than most people expect. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment (hold the comments) but this game holds the most interest for me this weekend, certainly in the afternoon slate.
Stoops family hierarchy at play. Note the similarities in neck/chin(s)
#8 Nebraska at Washington (ABC) - Everyone keeps hearing how Nebraska is elite, almost as much as they've had to listen to Jake Locker is elite chatter. This would be an interesting game for both entities to step up and show us something. Like all Longhorn fans, I snort derisively at the notion that Nebraska is back, but I'm at least curiously intrigued by their change at QB. Martinez has acquitted himself well thus far, albeit against shit-bird opponents. Washington has talent at QB, and they seem to be playing their games competitively. Perhaps they're getting closer to the talent threshold where they start winning games...but that won't be until next year. However this doesn't mean they aren't perfectly capable of mixing in an upset this season. And it's at Washington. The game could be interesting.
#10 Florida at Tennessee (CBS) - The Eye finally steps up and decides to get involved in daytime college football now that tennis is complete. TENNIS. Not even women's tennis. Well done, dipshits. Last week we saw Florida play a deceptively closer game to South Florida before padding the score, and I consider South Florida a much more talented team than Tennessee. So...sorry, Vols. Watch this game because it's on TV, and we can watch the development of John Brantley, akin to a parked car in neutral.
Baylor at #4 TCU (Versus) - I'm sure that TCU is going to tell Baylor, not without some tenderness, to bend over and touch their toes. But maybe mini-nova RGIII can create enough chaos to make this a fun watch. On a related note, I'm also intending on winning the lottery this weekend. As I quote the modern masterpiece Hard to Kill, You Can Take That To The Bank!
7 p.m. eastern:
Miss. State at #15 LSU (ESPN U) - Les Miles has been flirting with his outright stupidity and general confusion at the principles of coaching for what certainly has been the greater portion of his life. Finally, it's going to come crashing down on his Frankenstein forehead this weekend. If this game isn't yet another LSU squeaker, I'll be fucking shocked. I think the mental grind of struggling with a North Carolina 2nd string and failing to put 30 on Vanderbilt finally takes its toll on Les Miles' fragile, infantile psyche. We'll see him calling for punts when his team is on defense and trying to usher some of his assistants into the huddle. Mississippi St. can play. This is like my upset alert of the week, or something. If I did that sort of thing.
Lets be perfectly clear here in case it wasn't already: Do not take your gambling cues from me. Just...don't.
Clemson at Auburn (ESPN) - This is where they've decided to prop Gameday this weekend? I mean, I guess it's as good as any other option. This should be a decent enough game. Auburn we've discussed already, with a ton of talent at RB and some intriguing play callers, as well as Cam Newton, erstwhile LB, taking snaps. Clemson, well, I have little to no idea about what Clemson has this year, save a coach with the first name Dabo. Frighteningly similar to one of the villainous characters from Double Dragon, except puny. While I've got my prognosticator's hat on and my chicken entrails conveniently spilled out, I augur that this game will look almost identical to last Thursday's Auburn vs. Mississippi St. game. Good enough to watch, I guess. Now I will scoot back all 5 inches off this limb.
8 p.m. eastern:
Notre Dame at Michigan St. (ABC) - Did you people see how many outrageous facial expressions Brian Kelly made during last week's broadcast? Holy shit there must have been 4-5 different ones, many of which have made their way to animated gifs this week. They ranked from "You Fucking Idiots" to something that looked like King Hippo throwing a punch. Maybe I'm not going to miss Charlie Weis and his obesity antics on the sidelines after all, except I actually expect Kelly to improve Notre Dame over time. Anyway, this game is inevitably interesting, regardless of the quality of the teams playing on the field. Both teams have talent. Both teams underachieve. One is starting to receive their almost yearly "this team could make some noise" bullshit, and the other team has an incompetent Montana that you can cheer to get broken. There's plenty in this matchup to like.
#6 Texas at Texas Tech (ABC) - For the first time this year, the Longhorns make it onto a list of the weekends best games based on merit, as opposed to blatant and unabashed nepotism. Naturally, playing an opponent of merit scares the piss out of me. The game's at night at Lubbock, which never used to be a problem, but in our most recent sojourn created broken hearts and hard feelings galore, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the 'Horns head back. Our offense still looks like shit, but their defense is still a work in progress. Our defense is nailz, and their offense is still competent. If nothing else this game should, for good or ill, silence that heinous group of lisping Hornfans that insist that we're saving parts of our offense for bigger games. I guess that's something. Personally, I'm stocking up on maalox. Last year, I liked playing Tech early. This year, I'm thinking maybe we were better off waiting until late October. But there's no arguing the effect this game will have on shaping the Big 12 South this year.
#9 Iowa at #24 Arizona -The lone ranked matchup of opponents this week, and between you and me, I'm not complaining that no effort was made to move the game up. Iowa looked more competent than I expected, although they were just vanquishing Iowa St, which is like slapping around bean bag chair. Still, they looked solid in all phases of the game. Arizona is still a team we know jack shit about, but I guessing we'll learn more Saturday. They're supposed to be good this year, but it's Arizona and Mike Stoops, so to say I'm skeptical is to say that Oprah is an annoying gash. Iowa should win by double digits.
Games I'm Not Previewing On General Fucking Principle:
#23 Houston at UCLA - UCLA continues their streak of playing teams of varying degrees of interest to Texas, but the buck stops here. Fuck the Cougars.
Louisville at Oregon St. - Oregon St. is still extremely talented, and I suppose it's fun to see how Charlie Strong progresses on a game by game basis at Louisville. If you're out of gasoline to huff. Or even better, with gasoline to huff.
BYU at Free Shoes Trade School - Fuck you Florida State. Fuck you until you die. BYU will inevitably (should) beat the living crap out of this defense which consists entirely of midgets and the occasional stumblefuck that barely qualifies as a biped. Oh, and 5 former 5 star players. EABOD AND CHOKE, FSU. I have little faith they'll be any better this week, I imagine Mark Stoops is still weeping in the shower after the trident of humiliation he received last week: psychological, professional, and marital. I tried to modify cuckold into a descriptor, but came up blank. Sorry, readers.
What do you guys think? Anything I missed? Insults to be leveled at my intelligence?
Because I'm a child and can't resist
Actual pics of Kelly's facial comedy welcome in comments.