Humans are a walking bundle of emotional triggers. We collect them during our lives the way certain Barkers that rhyme with Dookie collect balls of lint and old scabs. For example, unwashed pygmy males in too tight jeans with '85 black converse shoes instinctively trigger me to stab. Evangeline Lily and pictures of topless chicks trigger, well, other actions. And one of the most powerful triggers in all of humanity is music. Music can help us recall happy/tragic/bellicose/despondent memories from our past, as well as imprint on current experiences for future reference. It's no coincidence that when we (often) catch Sailor with a cigarette butt clenched between his teeth, shaving his legs in the men's lavatory and grunting, he's also humming tracks from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. What's my point, you ask?
Not even Juice Newton can save us now.
At MagnusBleuveigner's repeated and shrill insistence, I attempted to do a Heart - Alone themed Viewing Guide. It seemed like a good idea. Another early 80's power ballad, perhaps potent enough to push back the darkness of our current Longhorn state of affairs and lighten our season of eternal night, if only for just a bit. It starts out strong, with some great piano work, great 80's bombast, and all the rest of that crap. But I realized something was amiss when the fat one belts out the seminal moment of the chorus, "How Can I Get You Alone?," and the only image in my head was not of any aforementioned topless chicks. It was me wearing a black ninja suit, crouched outside the window of various offensive staff members homes with a knife between my teeth and bunched piano wire in my hands, waiting for the opportunity to strike.
It's safe to say that when that happens, it is a pretty good indicator that the current college football season and your team have done a real number on your psyche and general mental state of well-being.
Maybe you guys will have more luck.
And now, onto the games. Before I start seeing what by brain starts conjuring up when I switch from chick hair band ballads to something darker.
Futility at Impotence (ESNP2/ESPNU):
Sorry, I meant Toledo vs. Bowling Green. Or the Fighting Michael Haywoods and Akron. It doesn't freakin' matter, because not only was no one watching, but if you were, the sensation left you with that hollow certainty on the inside that life isn't worth living. The Gallup Poll registered a 37% uptick in suicide hotline traffic last night between the hours of 7 and 10. Alone, alone, indeed. But lets all congratulate Michael Hawyood for being bowl eligible. Mack Brown coaching tree, imo.
Georgia St. at #12 Alabama (ESPNU):
and my love for you is still unknown
There's a Georgia State? Yeeesh. And while technically my love for them is still unknown because they are an entirely undocumented entity, chances are I'm going to think they suck. In fact, some nether-region of my brain that typically only controls my ability to roll my tongue, wiggle my ears and the reflex to throw shoes at overweight women is informing me that maybe I heard ESPN say this was their first year competing in Div 1A? I can't be certain, I was probably too busy doing something more important, like prank calling Toadvine or reciting lines from The Empire Strikes Back to myself. I stole Greggie Poo's playbook and asked it about this matchup, and got this in return:
UCLA at Washington (ESPN):
I hear the ticking of the clock
Yeah you do, because this game is as boring as hell. But admit it, you thought I was going to reserve this line for a Big 10 matchup, didn't you? Well, I almost did like 20 times, but this fits here just as well. Slickity Rick has to be one of the most dazzling case studies of a bright young star in the sport of coaching who becomes not just average, but mediocre in their fall from grace. Remove his ability to cheat and employ repeated rapists on his squad, and suddenly the guy just isn't that great of a coach. Washington's underachieved against my slightly better than meager expectations of them to start the season, but Jake Locker is supposed to be back and every sign points to the Huskies being able to dead-leg UCLA, club them in the back of the head, and then go acquit themselves nicely with obscenely hot Bruin slash. If we're lucky, in the melee, someone will have the decency to hold down Rick and shave his freakin' head. Dana Holgerson is embarrassed for you, Rick.
Fresno St. at #4 Boise St. (ESPN2):
I'm lying here the room's pitch dark
General principle of the Friday night game demands that I point out that lying in a dark room, stark still for hours, would be preferable to watching whatever ESPN throws at us fans. Even if that room had been constructed by Jigsaw from those horrifically heinous Saw films that TaylorTRoom keeps dragging into the break room and insisting we watch. I think he's looking for an excuse to act startled and jump into CloseToJumping's lap, but I digress. On the surface, this game looks different. Ranked Boise St against BCS bustin', road-warriorin' Pat Hill's Taciturn Mustache Fresno St. in a clash of Mid-Major powerhouses. The only problem here is that Fresno State hasn't been that team for a few years now, and in short, they're generally just an average squad. Boise State is going to tie them up and recreate their favorite scenes from The Passion of the Christ, and I'm not talking the one where everyone parties down having a bite and drinking some wine. I'm talking about the ones with brambles, whippings, and pointy spears. After all, it's a game involving not one, but TWO colleges named after cities, but with state denotations at the end. What the fuck did you expect?
#7 Wisconsin at Michingan (ESPN):
You dont know how long I have wanted
Ha ha, just kidding, you know I've been waiting for this game about as much as a man in the midst of a 3-day battle with Montezuma's Revenge and Mexico's tap water is looking forward to his next bowel movement. No matter how much lipstick Wisconsin wants to throw on the pig that is the Big 10 (80 point outbursts, etc.) this game just isn't that intriguing. And ironically enough, the one potentially enjoyable aspect of the game, the unabashed steam powered rolling of Greg Robinson's defense, probably won't even come to pass. Wisconsin will find a way to only score 24 points to avariciously rob us of the one entertaining possibility this clogged toilet of a game has to offer. Because that's how the Big 10 Rolls. Holla. Wisconsin wins. Greg Robinson skulks out of town and calls Mack Brown about any potential openings on his staff.
Pitt at South Florida (ESPN2):
And the night goes by so very slow
Everything goes by so very slow when I do a South Florida preview. Wannstache dropped his choke game last week, so this week we've got a Mark Morrison style Return of the 'Stache. There's your preview. I warned all of you what would happen if I was forced to preview a South Florida game once more this season. I fucking warned you. It was my intention to share my pain with all of you people, but the safeguards of the Scipio and Sailor editing process sent back all of my drafts with images of Roseanne Barr pre-lap-band in a bikini, women who haven't shaved under their arms, Tara Reid's stomach, and Ashton Kutcher. Which leaves me only with the ability to play off your shame. How dare you.
NC State at North Carolina (ESPN3/Gameplan):
And now it chills me to the bone
What other reaction is there when the best game of the morning is NC vs NC state? No, it's not chilly in here because someone left the door open or turned on a snuff film. It's this morning game. 3 years ago, Butch Davis and Tom O'Brien in a coaching matchup probably would have had most of us nodding our head and thinking Good Game. Fast forward a few years later, and that is definitely not the case. Instead, I'm looking forward to this game as much as I would look forward to conversation from a wife detailing her recent and ongoing role as the centerpiece in an unprotected gang bang featuring Travis Henry, Shawn Kemp, and Antonio Cromartie. Horror and revulsion don't even begin to cover it. Sometimes words are simply inadequate, no?
Clemson at Wake Forest (ESPN3/Gameplan):
I wonder where you are tonight
Sub tonight for today, and this is basically the lament of all the morning games combined. Because no one, I repeat no one, is looking forward to any of these slap fight matchups. Clemson and Wake Forest? Puhleease. I'm out of things to say about Clemson's tiny dynamo at running back that they manage to under-utilize with almost robotic precision. Meanwhile, Wake Forest is so forgettable that I've never even bothered trying to learn anything about their team to share with you, noble readership. So instead, I'm going to offer up this for your consideration: Wouldn't college football be better if all schools with Gold as their major color component were coached by George O'Leary? Central Forida, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, I'm looking at all of you. <Insert Notre Dame Joke Here>. Seriously. Consider it.
Lets kick it back into high gear for the home stretch.
#9 Ohio State at #20 Iowa (ABC):
I never really cared until I met you
This seems like another perfect opportunity for me to tease Big 10 fans about their conference, hint that this is a great game, and then pull the football out of the way at the last moment. Oh Big 10, I never saw how great you were until I met this great matchup this weekend. And I'm real tempted. But the truth of the matter is, this is probably the 2nd and at worst 3rd best game of the weekend. But it's not because of anything the Big 10 did, it's just that the rest of the weekend sucks shit through a Sesame Street bendy straw. Sort of like the guy who weathered the recession decently because all of his savings were in cash, with no investments. It's not really any kind of market prescience he had, he was just so mind bogglingly retarded that he didn't have any kind of investments, and thus took no hit. In this one instance due to a combination of assed up scheduling and competing games with a Kilimanjaro dose of fortune and good luck, this game actually looks good. Kind like like Corky from Life Goes On matched up against Stephen Hawking in a fist fight. Luck of the Draw. The idea of Ohio State getting pantsed by Iowa, a team perfectly capable of doing such, creates such boundless good will and positive energy that it's damn near a renewable resource. Ohio State was purported to be a national title contender this year, and while they've already botched that job in miraculous fashion, having Iowa hammer them one more time might be enough to send their entire fanbase into a riotous couch-torching frenzy. Which is good for the rest of us. Ohio State has shown weakness against the pass, and Iowa has a good QB (for the Big 10) who might be able to make that happen. Please, pagan gods, make that happen.
#16 Virginia Tech at #24 Miami (ESPN):
to touch your lips and hold you tight
Can someone imagine wanting to touch Frank Beamer's lips and hold him tight? Other than blind people, I mean? I want to just poke that creature that lives on his neck with a heated carving fork until it rouses itself to the world. Because I bet it breathes fire, and that would be cool to see. Miami, meanwhile, still manages to pinball back and forth between wins and losses just enough to remain ranked. I can't decide if their ability to claw after poll votes like the Hilton scions clamoring for pie pieces of inheritance is commendable or contemptible. Probably the latter, but then again, I've been accused of being a glass totally empty half empty kind of guy, so I might not have a fair level of unbiased perspective. Virgina Tech has done a nice job of righting the ship after starting the year neck deep in an ocean of their own detritus. And the more they win, the more likely we're going to see Boise State roll into the championship game. At this point, that's good for most of us fans. This game won't be a blowout, because neither team is capable of such a feat, but everything depends on which Miami team shows up. Historically, Miami has done well against Va Tech, and particularly at home. So this game should be decent.
Ole Miss. at #5 LSU (CBS):
No answer on the telephone
I'm personally shocked that anyone has pretty much ever answered Houston Nutt's telephone calls, because I would literally rather host a dinner party with a dozen of the world's greatest living war criminals than share a 5 block cab ride with this mook. At least the war criminals could probably sell me some really cool weaponry. Nutt couldn't sell anyone on the virtues of regular sexual intercourse with attractive women. And considering his current status in Oxford, it's damn sure no other school is interested in fielding calls from that guy. Ole Miss is bad, and Pick Machine Jeremiah Masoli is the new Jarret Lee. When your fanbase is pining for Ed Orgeron because at least he could recruit and kept his shenanigans hidden behind partially closed doors, you know your time is nearing an end. The fact that the death blow might come this weekend at the hands of Les Miles, a man so devoid of intelligence and common sense that he always hits on 20 and asks to "go second" at roshambo, well, that is the jam in my jelly donut, gentle reader. LSU is going to Dragon Punch The Right Reverend, and if he's lucky Miles will pick him up and dust him off like the genial buffoon he is and bring him along to the nearest bayou brothel. Which is probably all Nutt wanted in the first place.
Florida Atlantic at Texas (PPV?):
How do I get you alone
There's not much more to say about this game that hasn't been dissected by people infinitely more knowledgeable, insightful, and most importantly more mature than myself. This game could end up being a deciding vote as to whether or not major coaching changes are made in the offseason. It's a game that by rights we should win, and win big, but at this point evaluating opponents and their chances against us based on our typical "We're Texas" attitude is folly, and misguided. It's a wait and see predicament, as I doubt anyone knows exactly what to expect from this game, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they're a liar or a waterhead. So instead I'm left with images of ninja jammies and knives in teeth. I think Texas wins 20-10. However, I did find an excellent illustration of staff's general attitude towards actual coaching this season:
6 p.m. and later
#13 Arkansas at #21 Mississippi State (ESPN):
Till now I always got by on my own
This is the first great game of the day. In my opinion, Arkansas is probably ranked a bit too high at #13, and Mississippi State is ranked a bit too low at #21, but considering how the games have played out, you can't really argue with how they're ranked. Atomic Arm Mallet is back to make it rain all over the field and go deep like an Ezra Pound stanza. Mississippi State is there with solid schemes and execution to thwart his power cosmic ego. Mallet's going pro after this season (if there's a draft) and so far he's lacked a real showcase game this season that scouts could point to in support of his draft stock. Not that that ever stopped guys like Stafford or nameless scouts from falling in love, but it can't hurt. He should be looking to make a statement, and Mississippi State just handles business. Lock your windows, close your doors. This game should be fun.
Army vs. Notre Dame (NBC):
Oh I hope that it won't end though
And when I refer to "it" not ending, I mean Notre Dame's mediocrity. They laid the solid wood to Utah last week, and Army is kind of a slouch. Historically, this is a game Weis would have struggled with. And to be honest, we need New Weis to continue this tradition. He's already puffed up, self-important, and over-confident after last week's victory:
#8 Nebraska at #19 Texas aTm (ABC):
You don't know how long I have waited
Another game that we will all be waiting for all day. Nebraska has handled their business all year long save once, and the Aggies have been playing every game since the QB change as if a trip to the Chicken Ranch were at stake. Many of us have wondered what would happen if Oklahoma State had played the Huskers later in the year, and while we may still get that wish, right now we get to see a Lite version of that matchup this weekend against the Aggies. This should be good football, and while I think there's a decent chance the Huskers could end up running away with it late, no outcome will really surprise me. A&M and Tim DeRuyter have fielded a much improved defense all year, but this will be their first time seeing an offense like Nebraska, which is pretty unique to the rest of the Big 12. Their adjustments will be interesting. The real intrigue could be on the sidelines. It's Captain Idiocy Intensity vs. Commander Somnus. Does anyone else think it would be awesome to lock these two up in a cage? We can give Pelini a main line and a banana bag full of liquid cocaine. Sherman will be strapped into a recliner with a pillow and a quart of blue bell. Will Pelini's earth shattering brays be enough to rouse Sherman from the sleep of the elderly? Godzilla's Roar vs. Rip Wan Winkle's Naptime. Am I the only person who would shell out the cash to see this on PPV?
#14 Oklahoma at Baylor (ESPN2):
But the secret is still my own
My Big 12 bias Big 10 Disdain has this game more intriguing to me than the Hawkeyes vs. Couch Fires matchup earlier, but in all good conscience I can't really say it's a better game. Both teams are coming off defeats to aTm in consecutive weeks, and while Baylor has shown a lot of fight in almost all their games, I'm simply not sure they'll be able to put enough together to take down Stoops and his ragged band of assfaces. The fact that it's in Waco doesn't really help the cause, but considering that OU is a Sibyl-like home and away team, it might give Baylor a fighting chance. RGIII has relied more on his arm this year, but watching him has shown that he's really grown into a quarterback instead of just an athlete taking snaps. The only thing Landry Jones has grown is that detestable nose muff that's attached itself to his upper lip. He's still not good, but he's good enough to score points on Baylor, and Stoops is good enough to limit how much Griffin will hurt them. Still, go Bears, down with assholes and puppy haters.
And No, I'm sure as hell not talking about Cal and Stanford. Holding Oregon to low points once does not a decent team make, California. Take your hairy pitted women and your protests to another viewing guide. Stanford rolls. As always, comments about my spelling and grammar and their general inadequacy are as welcome in the comments as your patience and tolerance is during the reading. Anything I missed?