Couch Potato: Tom Ensey pisses you off – Week 8 of college ball on TV doesn’t suck, though there’s always the chance it will

 

Michigan at Michigan State, noon ET

No. 6 Michigan should tear off No. 24 Michigan State’s head and shit in it, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. Michigan is only so good, and Michigan State is only so bad.

Michigan State’s quarterback threw 52 passes last week and completed 24 and they still only scored 17 points against the appallingly overrated Penn State. Watching Tua Tagovailoa has ruined me. If he threw 52 passes Alabama would score 200. More on him later.

Michigan beat the hell out of Wisconsin last week, which could mean Wisconsin is worse than I thought or Michigan’s better, but you know me and the Big Ten. Nobody’s any good but Ohio State and they represent all worldly evil, but I like that band.

Auburn at Ole Miss, noon ET

When Auburn quits, they quit full speed, and the Tigers sat on the porch and whittled last week while losing to Tennessee. The Auburn season has turned into a tractor-tire fire, the bitter stench, orange flame and black plumes of toxic smoke spiraling into the blue Alabama sky like the futile prayers of doomed hostages. Auburn is a 2.5-point favorite this Saturday over a team Alabama beat 62-7, and what has happened recently to make you think Auburn will win at all?

This season is so over, Auburn fans are free to start worrying about next year, when there will not only be no running backs, offensive line, defense or kicking game – there will also be no quarterback. Jarrett Stidham has got to be thinking about how he probably cost himself a year and a few million bucks by hanging around to watch the rubber burn.

Speaking of millions, Gus Malzahn is counting his. Soon he can sit around the Financially Secure Fired Auburn Coaches Club with Tommy Tuberville, Gene Chizik, Brother Oliver, Wayne Hall and Pat Dye and brag about how he beat both teams in the 2018 national championship game.

It’s a hard time for Auburn fans – do you hope the guys turn things around, wind up 6-6 or 7-5, go to some shitty bowl and save Gus’ job for another year, or hope things fall apart and stake all hope on some imaginary coach who can come take over and save the Plains?

No. 16 North Carolina State at No. 3 Clemson, 3:30 p.m. ET

If Clemson’s going to choke, this is the week. North Carolina State is only ranked 16th despite being undefeated against a gallery of inept opponents (their only semi-tough game, against West Virginia, was canceled because of the hurricane).

If they knock off the Fighting Dabos, they’ll be Top 10 and in position to win the ACC if they can keep from losing two more league games, a big if. It’s a sad commentary on the state of things in this woebegone era. The Wolfpack could totally win the rest of their shitty schedule, beat some wonk in the ACC championship game then sit back and be the centerpiece of a perfectly valid argument that an undefeated conference champion has no place in the College Football Playoffs.

No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee 

The big question here is Tua’s knee – he twisted it against Happy Appy, sprained it good against Arky, re-sprained it last week against Missouri causing his mother to pray out loud on a cutaway shot as a million Bama fans and even more gamblers joined the conversation with their higher power.

Tennessee is all sparked up after their big road win over the death-spiraling Auburn last week, which was probably a false flag. There’s no doubt the Vols are getting better each week, which is to be expected now that they have an actual football coach in charge. But they still need players, which they lack in abundance.

The word is UT will start two freshman cornerbacks, so Tua could play in a wheelchair and throw three touchdown passes. The 28.5-point line looks like it might be somewhat competitive, though Alabama’s defense looked like the olden days when offensive production of 250 yards and 17 points assured victory.

The Tide is going to start a walk-on punter, and why not? The other guy should have bought a ticket the last three weeks and the couple of times he did punt it looked like a flare gun, straight up and fizzle.

Mississippi State at LSU 7 p.m. ET 

Would it really surprise anybody if Mississippi State somehow cruised into Baton Rouge and beat LSU with a safety on a bad call on the last play of the game this week?

LSU is just weird, which should come as no surprise when Ed Orgeron is your coach, who is cool in a weird sort of way or weird in a cool sort of way, I can’t decide which. Ed’s the kind of guy I think I’d like to have a beer with, but I’d want to sit within sprinting distance of the door in case he started a bar fight.

A week after getting their head handed to them by Florida the Tigas beat the living hell out of Georgia, magically providing the only impetus imaginable to make me want to actually watch the Cocktail Party next week.

Mississippi State’s got a Sasquatch quarterback who can break contain and rumble for 10 yards between the tackles at a top speed of 2 mph whether he’s in the open field or with two defensive linemen and a cornerback on his back. Against LSU, could this be enough?

Probably not. But would it surprise you? Not me.

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Couch Potato: Tennessee at Auburn a clash of sorrowful futility; Tua’s hurt, and yet the cruel sun yet rises

None but a fool ever wrote but for money. Some English guy said that back in the 1700s or thereabouts, and when I studied all that worthless shit in college, I thought, “Yeah, that’s truth, right there.”
But here I am, writing Couch Potato, and writing it on Saturday morning in a hurry before I have to go to work – and before the bloody Mary games kick off — because the nine people who read this shit get all sad and stuff when I say I’m going to quit.
Here it is. How do I start a Patreon page? Or y’all can just send me money. Cash: 2306-D Boultier Street, 36106.
I don’t care if the hackers know my address. They already know. I’ve been hacked more times than Shaq. If you get that joke, you’re the one I do it for.
Tennessee at Auburn
In 2013, Gus Malzahn took over a flagging Auburn football team armed with a variation of the wing-T offense and a dream. Running a no-huddle swarming attack with a defensive back who could outrun most motorcycles playing quarterback, the Tigers imposed terror on all concerned and Gus was hailed as the offensive genius of the new millennium. They beat Alabama on a breathtaking, 99.999-yard, last-second return of a field goal for a game-winning touchdown and then lost the national championship game to Florida State and their incredibly talented quarterback Jameis Winston, an accused rapist.
 
In 2017, Malzahn beat Georgia and Alabama back-to-back and parlayed that into a $7 jillion pillion a year contract before getting his ass beat by Georgia in the SEC title game rematch, thence stricken, he stumbled bowlward to Atlanta and humiliation at the hands of fake national champion UCF. 
 
Last Saturday Auburn got gut-stomped 23-9 by a Mississippi State team that had lost its last two games to Kentucky (in football) and Florida. The Tigers’ offensive line devolved into chaos after not being very good in the first place. The Auburn defense, which is pretty good, fought nobly against a Bulldogs offense with a big, slow quarterback, one running back who is pretty good and nine other guys. But the War Eagles ran out of gas in the fourth quarter because you know, when your offense can’t score a touchdown or make a first down, that really makes it hard out there for a defense, and you wind up looking like Kanye West dressed in a water bottle suit waving at the gigantic Nick Fitzgerald as be goes rumbling up the middle of the field, knocking you down.
 
Today in Auburn, it’s Tennessee that was itself once very good according to accounts found on ancient clay tables recovered in the Knoxville area and a few Smoky Mountain cave glyphs. Last week, explorers recovered papyrus scrolls that said Tennessee beat an SEC team 11 games ago. More research is required.
 
Tennessee has been godawful this season, just unbelievably bad, like the high school play I was in where the main character forgot her lines and all us cast members sat on stage in silence for about 10 minutes, a dramatic tableau, experimental theater, before the girl playing my wife suddenly got up, sauntered across the stage and said, “Daddy, why don’t you go break grandmother’s TV set?” I stood up and said, “If I must, I must.” It was my last line in the play, about 20 minutes ahead of where we were supposed to be, so I went backstage, took off my makeup, got in my car and drove home. I never acted again.
 
O, but despair not, ye fans who attire yourselves in Orange-centric shirts and blouses and march with sullen determination to cheer on your desultory teams. Seek joy in small things, for Tennessee and Auburn will both be good again one day, far from now, in the distant future, when Knoxville is a city on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Auburn floats above the clouds, levitated by devices invented by the guys at Apple Computers, which is run by a dude who graduated from the War Eagle School of Engineering.
Until then, here we are. Rejoice and be glad, and drink brown whiskey. The weather finally turned and it’s delightful in Auburn today, ideal for bourbon.
Missouri at Alabama
Why the hell is Missouri in the East division of the SEC? It’s halfway to Cali-damn-fornia and the people in the central plains don’t display appropriate reverence for grits and salt-cured ham. They do have good barbecue, I’ll give them that, but it’s not as good as they think it is. Nothing is as good as Missourians think their barbecue is. The sauce is too sweet.
Also, this is the Southeastern Conference, and Missouri is southeast of only eight states, nine if you count Alaska, but all 48 contiguous states are southeast of Alaska if you think about it.
The Tigers do love to throw the ball and they head into Tua-scaloosa, where the Hummin’ Hawaiian has turned “Run Da Bawl” Bama fans into “r’ar back and fling it” boosters overnight.
Alabama’s defense got lit up like a roman candle by Arkansas last week, and this is cause for concern, because:
Arkansas sucks. And it gets worse.
Tua’s hurt. Tua hurt his knee. Nick Saban said it’s sprained but that hasn’t affected the number of reps he’s taken this week at practice and it’s not expected to be a factor in today’s game and he’s wearing a brace.
Would you believe Nick Saban if he said goats are mammals? I would be suspicious. I’d check it before I printed it. They are, by the way. They have fur, milk, etc. Mammals, check goats off that list.
Here’s the deal. Last week at Arkansas, Tua threw touchdowns easier than most men can throw wadded-up paper into a trash can 10 feet away. He was on pace to score about 200 with 5 minutes gone in the first and then, bam! Arkansas tackled him, one of the first people they’ve tackled all season, and he came up limping. The trainers gave him a knee brace, and he kept playing, but he didn’t throw a touchdown every pass, so there was a drop-off in performance.
The defense will have to play better if Tua can’t wreak utter havoc because he is a little gimpy. (I had a colleague once who said you should’t say the words “gimpy” or “crippled-up” in sports stories because they are derogatory to gimps and cripples and therefore politically incorrect words. I told him that he’s the reason people vote for Donald Trump. By the way, I am both a gimp and a cripple since I started taking statins, and so are all my friends, and this is how we speak amongst ourselves. Gimp, gimp, gimp. Cripple, cripple, cripple.)
This whole thing is complicated by the injury to Taye Diggs, the Bama starting cornerback who also hurt a knee last week. (There’s an obvious conspiracy. Russia is doing collusion with Arkansas. It’s in Hillary’s emails, you can read it there. Everybody wonders where they are. Well, she sent them to me, and I have them. She also caused ice cream to be fattening. Damn her.).
Mizzou’s QB Drew Lock, who is pretty damn good, by the way, might not want to do the natural thing and throw it at Diggs’ replacement, because it’ll probably be that Surtain kid, who is holy hell. But somebody will be starting and playing more than ordinary and he could be as low as a four star, or even a three.
Alabama is in danger. It’s a trap.
Georgia at LSU
Will LSU rebound from last week’s loss at Florida, where the Tigers offense once again strained to score like an old man who didn’t eat his prunes? Will Georgia, the other major badass in the SEC, struggle because of the intimidating atmosphere in Baton Rouge?
Hell, no.
Look, Tiger Stadium isn’t all that. It’s a big-ass stadium, and it’s loud, and the fans all get drunk and holler shit at your players and you – in other words, it’s like every other stadium in the United States of America, even soccer ones.
It’s going to be interesting to see if LSU’s defense can expose anything about Georgia’s offense that we don’t already know. Hint: Probably not. But LSU’s defense is pretty good even if they did give up 27 to Florida, which isn’t as bad as you think. Well, actually, seven of those points were given up by LSU’s quarterback accidentally throwing it to the Florida guy, who ran it all the way back for a touchdown, so yeah, LSU’s defense is pretty sporty.
Georgia’s defense isn’t as good as it was last year, but there’s a good chance Kirby Smart will figure out a way to stop the three plays LSU runs.
LSU could win this game if it were a better team. Maybe even if it’s not, but I’d be surprised.

Couch Potato: Kyler Murray vs. Tua Tagovaiola at noon; LSU at Florida 3.0; Kentucky continues march to national championship

If I get 15 readers again this week, I’m going to just give you all my cell phone number so you can call me and ask what I think about the games this week.

So share this piece of shit with your friends and tell them if they don’t read it you will make them pay back all the money they borrowed.

Alabama at Arkansas, Texas vs. Oklahoma

There’s one reason to get up before noon and mix a bloody Mary – Alabama plays the egregious Arkansas and Oklahoma plays the flaky Texas on the TV machine. Even if you hate all four teams, which most people do, it’ll be a chance to flip back and forth and simultaneously evaluate Bama’s Tua Tagovaiola as compared to Oklahoma’s Tyler Murray, the two best quarterbacks this side the NFL and maybe history.

Tua is playing on the road at Arkansas, which has a pass defense slightly better than nothing. It I were Arkansas’ coach, I’d probably have several bloody Marys then rush 11 and hope Alabama’s receivers all tripped and fell down.

Kyler has been doing about everything a quarterback should do at Oklahoma, following the manic Baker Mayfield with flair and lethality. But he’s been overshadowed by the “holy shit” factor of Tagovaiola, who has kept his punter in shape by making him get up, walk to the sidelines with the rest of the kicking team, then go back and sit on the bench on third down. Tua has thrown three incomplete passes on third down all season and averaged about 20 yards a completion, which is in just about every situation going to be more than enough for a first down.

Kyler is playing in a rivalry game and Texas is looking slightly less like a group of strangers who were kidnapped on Friday night and forced to put on pads and play football the next day. But he’ll probably light them up, unless he doesn’t.

LSU at Florida at 3:30 p.m. ET

Ed Orgeron’s big, ugly team has whipped ass all year, but Florida’s not terrible and strange things happen in Gainesville when the Swamp Tigers visit.

This could give Dan Mullen his signature win at the Gator helm, and if that happens, the LSU faithful will have another drink and start thinking that what they were afraid was going to happen this year is starting to happen.

Indiana at Ohio State, sometime in the mid-afternoon

Indiana is 4-1 and goes to play Ohio State, which came from behind to beat TCU and Penn State, the only two decent teams it’s played. So, could the Hoosier take advantage and surprise … fuck, no. It’s Indiana.

Kentucky at Texas A&M, about dark or so

Kentucky wins ugly and Texas A&M loses pretty, so this should be a classic confrontation of something.

If Texas A&M wins, Jimbo avoids the indignation of losing to Kentucky and that’s about it.

If Kentucky wins, you have to got start thinking the Wildcats are semi-real and will only have to figure out a way to beat Georgia on Nov. 3 (tactical thermonuclear weapons?) to win the SEC East and earn the right to face Tua and the Tide in the championship game.

Is this truly an objective to be desired?

Auburn at Mississippi State, good to watch if you have trouble sleeping

This game offers each team the chance to really suck. Not just halfass suck, but to show the world how it’s done.

Auburn has no offensive line and not much offense at all (join us in prayer for the continued health and well being of Jarret Stidham, bless his heart).

State QB Nick Fitzgerald’s Heisman hopes have really taken a beating this year, seeing as how he has sucked and so have the Bulldogs in every way imaginable.

This should be a low-scoring, hideous game.

Notre Dame at Virginia Tech, good to watch if you wake up and can’t go back to sleep

I have already apologized for saying that Virginia Tech might be able to unseat Clemson as the eternal champions of the weak-ass ACC. That’s not going to happen. I don’t know what I was thinking.

I may have to apologize for saying Notre Dame just isn’t that good, but fattens up on sucky teams and then gets slaughtered when the chips are down.

Probably not.