COUCH POTATO: Former sports writer nightmare flashback – cell phone journalism yet haunts my dreams; UPDATES on Thanksgiving weekend games

I’m back covering Alabama. I’m at the university before a press conference with Nick Saban. I get a call from my editor. He tells me the state has declared bankruptcy and one of the editorial page writers has done a “humorous” piece on how we could solve this problem by having Oprah Winfrey buy the state of Alabama. As an “amusing” multimedia accompaniment, he wants me to get cell phone video of Saban saying “Roll Oprah,” as if to lead the rest of the population in a great cheer for our new overlord. It is the Friday before the Auburn game, I tell my editor. Saban won’t do it. The editor is mad at me. What’s wrong with me? Am I a fearful reporter? Am I not attuned to the new journalism? Perhaps somebody younger could do my job better than I could. Yeah, probably. Send him over. Bye.

The Egg Bowl Wrap-up; State ass beats Old Mississippi

Mississippi State’s ruthless obliteration was highlighted by a bench-clearing fist fight at the end of the third quarter that resulted in every single player on both teams being assessed a personal foul for being an asshole. It happened after Ole Miss scored a touchdown on a long pass after the clock had expired and the referees neglected to blow the whistle.

So anyhow, the players scuffle, an Ole Miss reserve QB comes off the bench to break up a tussle and then gets wailed by a Mississippi State DB and all hell broke loose. Guys were pulling off each others helmets and the refs waved their arms and the coaches ran on the field and half-heartedly tried to break up the melee. It was awesome.

Mississippi State won 1,000,000,000 to 3 or something. Good fight, though.

And as the weekend of mayhem continues:

No. 16 Washington at No. 7 Washington State 8:30 p.m. (Friday), FOX 

One of Washington’s band buses slid off the slick road and tumped over on the way to Pullman. Nobody was hurt, but 58 kids had to go sit in a grammar school gym on Thanksgiving while school officials got them a new bus or something. But hey, people from the nearby towns brought them turkey and dressing and shit and fed them, which was very nice. I still want Washington State to win, but I hope the Washington band does a good job playing whatever bands play these days, probably Beyonce shit or something.

I’m for Washington State because Mike Leach is fucking insane (in a good way) and his quarterback Gardner Minshew started his career at Troy and transferred because he couldn’t beat out a guy named Brandon Silvers, the two coolest names for quarterbacks on one team in America at that time. Now Gardner Minshew has a silly-ass mustache and is on the cusp of a Rose Bowl berth or horrific disappointment and everybody at Washington State has has glued on fake mustaches because that’s what you do when your school is in a fucking desert.

One of Washington’s band buses slid off the slick road and tumped over on the way to Pullman. Nobody was hurt, but 58 kids had to go sit in a grammar school gym on Thanksgiving while they got them a new bus or something. But hey, people from the nearby towns brought them turkey and dressing and shit and fed them, which was very nice. I still want Washington State to win, but I hope the Washington band does a good job playing whatever bands play these days, probably Beyonce shit or something.

No. 4 Michigan at No. 10 Ohio State Noon, FOX 

If Ohio State fucks up and wins this game they screw the Big Ten out of a playoff berth and cost the league millions. I actually think Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer may really be sick because he looked like death eating a cracker last week during his team’s 52-51 win over Maryland in the ugliest game ever played. He’s got some brain thing that makes his head hurt worse than mine does every time I think about him letting a wife beater stay on his staff for 12 years or so. But bless his heart anyway. Ohio State has bumbled around and managed to win all of them except a ruthless ass-beating at the hands of Purdue. Michigan is all the way up to No. 4 and will play probably Alabama in the first round of the playoffs if it wins this one and then slaughters Northwestern or whoever in the bullshit championship game which can accomplish nothing but screwing the Big Ten out of millions if Northwestern or whoever wins.

Georgia Tech at No. 5 Georgia Noon, SEC Network 

This one’s worth watching if you are an SEC fan and want to see if there’s a chance Georgia can upset Alabama in the SEC Championship Game next week because there’s a 13-1 chance you hate Alabama and hope anybody beats them.

No. 13 Florida at Florida State Noon, ABC 

As bad as Florida is, Florida State is worse. What a shitshow. USF and UCF got just enough good players away from them recruiting to make the state standard bearers suck against real competition while the lesser lights post fantastical records against teams that couldn’t beat Thompson High School in Alabama, where Tua Tagovaiola’s little brother is imposing his will upon all who come forth to challenge him.

Auburn at No. 1 Alabama 3:30 p.m., CBS 

Even if Auburn wins, which is highly unlikely since the War Damns are bad at scoring and Alabama is good at tackling ballcarriers and making quarterbacks pee their pants. Even if Alabama lost, it still goes to the SEC Championship Game and probably beats Georgia and goes to the playoffs to face Clemson in the first round. Yawn. Alabama looked like shit in the first half last week against Citadel and retired to the locker room tied 10-10, which means Alabama’s shitty November game was against a team that could not have won if it had deployed a small thermonuclear weapon in the second half. Also, Tua’s out of his knee brace and Jalen is back healthy, and the defense got lethal while they were both hurt. The only thing Auburn has to play for is to save Gus Malzahn’s job again like they did last year, and do they really want to do this? Get real. Despite all the public assurances from Auburn officials that Gus’ job is in no danger, we all know that’s bullshit and if Alabama wins 50-0 or something his ass is as gone as the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. And like all former members of the U.S. House of Representatives who got ass-beat in their last elections, Gus will depart public life bearing a suitcase of memories and the sort of wealth that can only be amassed by playing the game (not football, the real game) just well enough that The Man wants you to leave happy, lay low, stay out of the way, say all the right things and do whatever you’re told if ever called upon, a day that may never come.

No. 3 Notre Dame at USC 8 p.m., ABC 

Way back a long time ago when Notre Dame was really good, that Notre Dame went to Southern Cal and that Southern Cal beat them on the last play of the game or something, and the parallels are so similar commentators have reached back to that distant time to see if they could find something to write about this week. Could this happen again with this Notre Dame and this Southern Cal? Fuck, no. USC is awful, and Tua stayed at Alabama instead of transferring because he wasn’t playing much last year. I watched Notre Dame beat the snot out of Syracuse last week in New York, dressed like clowns in pinstriped uniforms to resemble those of the New York Yankees. You know, maybe if Notre Dame does get in the playoffs now and then, and if they come to their senses and join a shitty conference they can win a lot in football and get nice chunks of change from the NCAA basketball tournament (ACC, cough, cough, ACC), they’ll make enough money they don’t have to wear goofy-ass uniforms so they can sell replicas online to create a revenue stream.

 

 

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Couch Potato: It’s Rivalry Weekend! And all the rivalry games this season suck except Michigan at Ohio State and it sucks, too, if you think about it (Michigan will probably beat their ass).

No. 22 Mississippi State at Ole Miss; 7:30 p.m. (Thursday), ESPN 

If this game was worth a damn, it wouldn’t be on Thanksgiving night. Ole Miss is riding a one-game win streak in this godawful series, a miracle in itself considering that Ole Miss was awful last year, too. It’ll be the last hurrah for State’s giant quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who during his career has lit up defenses like a candle in the wind, never knowing who to cling to when the rains set it. His Heisman candidacy went over like a turd in a punchbowl, but he might make a middling NFL H-Back so he’ll make more money than we ever will. Whatever. Watch this game if you have absolutely nothing else to do and there’s no more pumpkin pie. They play for a big-ass trophy that’s supposed to be a giant, gold football but looks more like an egg, so they call it the Egg Bowl. That, and jokes about public hangings by candidates for the U.S. Senate, are what pass for humor in Mississippi.

No. 8 UCF at USF 4:15 p.m. (Friday), ESPN 

Well, I guess this is a rivalry because these are the two directional Florida schools that have popped up like fungus in a tidal pool since Florida has gotten way too many people and gone to hell. Fake national champion UCF will be looking to extend its billion-game win streak and add to its legend as the greatest football team in the history of Fuck.

No. 6 Oklahoma at No. 12 West Virginia 8 p.m. (Friday), ESPN 

If you ever wondered what football would have been like if back when it was invented they decided not to use people on defense but instead made the offense hide their eyes while they randomly placed 11 cinderblocks around the field to see if the offensive guys tripped over them before scoring — this game is what that would have been like.  Which isn’t all bad, and probably would have resulted in fewer players getting CTE so that they have dementia when they are 42.

No. 16 Washington at No. 7 Washington State 8:30 p.m. (Friday), FOX 

I’m for Washington State because Mike Leach is fucking insane (in a good way) and his quarterback Gardner Minshew started his career at Troy and transferred because he couldn’t beat out a guy named Brandon Silvers, the two coolest names for quarterbacks on one team in America at that time. Now Gardner Minshew has a silly-ass mustache and is on the cusp of a Rose Bowl berth or horrific disappointment and everybody at Washington State has has glued on fake mustaches because that’s what you do when your school is in a fucking desert.

No. 4 Michigan at No. 10 Ohio State Noon, FOX 

If Ohio State fucks up and wins this game they screw the Big Ten out of a playoff berth and cost the league millions. I actually think Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer may really be sick because he looked like death eating a cracker last week during his team’s 52-51 win over Maryland in the ugliest game ever played. He’s got some brain thing that makes his head hurt worse than mine does every time I think about him letting a wife beater stay on his staff for 12 years or so. But bless his heart anyway. Ohio State has bumbled around and managed to win all of them except a ruthless ass-beating at the hands of Purdue. Michigan is all the way up to No. 4 and will play probably Alabama in the first round of the playoffs if it wins this one and then slaughters Northwestern or whoever in the bullshit championship game which can accomplish nothing but screwing the Big Ten out of millions if Northwestern or whoever wins.

Georgia Tech at No. 5 Georgia Noon, SEC Network 

This one’s worth watching if you are an SEC fan and want to see if there’s a chance Georgia can upset Alabama in the SEC Championship Game next week because there’s a 13-1 chance you hate Alabama and hope anybody beats them.

No. 13 Florida at Florida State Noon, ABC 

As bad as Florida is, Florida State is worse. What a shitshow. USF and UCF got just enough good players away from them recruiting to make the state standard bearers suck against real competition while the lesser lights post fantastical records against teams that couldn’t beat Thompson High School in Alabama, where Tua Tagovaiola’s little brother is imposing his will upon all who come forth to challenge him.

Auburn at No. 1 Alabama 3:30 p.m., CBS 

Even if Auburn wins, which is highly unlikely since the War Damns are bad at scoring and Alabama is good at tackling ballcarriers and making quarterbacks pee their pants. Even if Alabama lost, it still goes to the SEC Championship Game and probably beats Georgia and goes to the playoffs to face Clemson in the first round. Yawn. Alabama looked like shit in the first half last week against Citadel and retired to the locker room tied 10-10, which means Alabama’s shitty November game was against a team that could not have won if it had deployed a small thermonuclear weapon in the second half. Also, Tua’s out of his knee brace and Jalen is back healthy, and the defense got lethal while they were both hurt. The only thing Auburn has to play for is to save Gus Malzahn’s job again like they did last year, and do they really want to do this? Get real. Despite all the public assurances from Auburn officials that Gus’ job is in no danger, we all know that’s bullshit and if Alabama wins 50-0 or something his ass is as gone as the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. And like all former members of the U.S. House of Representatives who got ass-beat in their last elections, Gus will depart public life bearing a suitcase of memories and the sort of wealth that can only be amassed by playing the game (not football, the real game) just well enough that The Man wants you to leave happy, lay low, stay out of the way, say all the right things and do whatever you’re told if ever called upon, a day that may never come.

No. 3 Notre Dame at USC 8 p.m., ABC 

Way back a long time ago when Notre Dame was really good, that Notre Dame went to Southern Cal and that Southern Cal beat them on the last play of the game or something, and the parallels are so similar commentators have reached back to that distant time to see if they could find something to write about this week. Could this happen again with this Notre Dame and this Southern Cal? Fuck, no. USC is awful, and Tua stayed at Alabama instead of transferring because he wasn’t playing much last year. I watched Notre Dame beat the snot out of Syracuse last week in New York, dressed like clowns in pinstriped uniforms to resemble those of the New York Yankees. You know, maybe if Notre Dame does get in the playoffs now and then, and if they come to their senses and join a shitty conference they can win a lot in football and get nice chunks of change from the NCAA basketball tournament (ACC, cough, cough, ACC), they’ll make enough money they don’t have to wear goofy-ass uniforms so they can sell replicas online to create a revenue stream.

 

 

Couch Potato: Notre Dame and UCF play teams good enough to beat them; Alabama, Auburn and Georgia face pay-for-play opposition; UAB carries hope and courage forward to Texas A&M, who really needs to win for appearances’ sake

For the most part it’s Cupcake Saturday, with most relevant teams playing patsies clocking in to take a beating and a million-dollar check for their trouble. Think of it as intercollegiate football sadomasochist prostitution for the entertainment of the masses. DOMINANCE! and submission… Notre Dame and Syracuse is a more-or-less real game with actual consequences. Harvard v. Yale is important if you went to either school, but if you did, you probably are too busy oppressing the proletariat to read this shit. Cincinnati will cause a lot of trouble for the AAC (Awful, Awful Conference) standings if it upsets UCF this week.

Ohio State at Maryland, 11 a.m., ABC 

The Buckeyes can beat up on the most dysfunctional team in football this week in preparation for their real game next week against Michigan, the de facto Big Ten championship since the winner plays Northwestern, which is a good school but so-so in football. Maryland put their coach on probation because last spring a player got heat stroke and they did everything you can do wrong for a kid with heat stroke before they called an ambulance, so he didn’t make it. As it turned out, the whole program was about as fucked up as you’d think it had to be for something like that to happen. Then they rehired him, then they fired him like two days later when everybody who knew anything about the mess went “WHAT????” It may be the worst shit I’ve heard since Jerry Sandusky. Go Buckeyes, and that’s the last time you’ll hear me say that.

Michigan State at Nebraska, 11 a.m., Fox

Michigan State, the worst offensive team imaginable, is a 2-point favorite over the wretched Nebraska. I guess they think the Spartans will manage a safety while holding the Corn Boys scoreless. This has a chance to be the worst game ever played.

Arkansas at Mississippi State, 11 a.m., ESPN  

Mississippi State is mad because they didn’t score against Alabama and only managed to hurt Tua a little bit. Can they cover the 21-point spread. Probably, but one of the few things Arkansas has been good at this year is covering point spreads against teams that are much better than they are.

Harvard vs. Yale (at Boston), 11 a.m., ESPN2 

It doesn’t matter who wins this game to anybody who didn’t go to one school or the other, but all the real people really should watch for a quarter just to see how slow these people are. If I had been smart enough, I probably could have played at least defensive line for Harvard, and I might have made the track team as a middle-distance runner if they’d let me drink whiskey before races.

The Citadel at Alabama, 11 a.m., SEC Network

The only mystery surrounding this game was if gimpy-kneed Tua would step foot onto the field of play, which Nick Saban said he would because you never disrespect an opponent by not beating the shit out of them to the full extent of your capability to do so. Alabama has the two best quarterbacks in the SEC and they’re both hurt. Jalen Hurts’ alleged “high ankle sprain” required surgery and he’s still walking around like I do when the gout kicks up. Alabama always fades a little in November because of injuries. Last year it was all those linebackers when the defense was carrying the team and this year it’s the quarterbacks. So the defense is back to carrying the team again, as usual, which as worked out pretty well shutting out LSU and Mississippi State. True science fact: If the other team does not score, you will win.  It might be a good idea to take Citadel and the 52 points, because that’s a metric fuck-ton of points under the circumstances. Will Auburn put up a fight next week? For a couple of quarters, yeah, but they’re not so good at scoring.

Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (at Bronx, N.Y.), 1:30 p.m., NBC 

Syracuse is the last, best hope of keeping Notre Dame out of the playoffs. The Irish schedule has been softer than a basket of kitties. Syracuse is a top-20 team and has beaten some people that field teams that look like they’ve seen a football a time or two. They’re playing in Brooklyn, and the Irish are wearing pinstripes to honor the Yankees. Why? Who knows why Notre does all that kinky shit with their uniforms. What do they have to prove? Doesn’t being Notre Dame inspire enough enthusiasm to play one’s hardest? Do you have to dress up like a clown? Just put on the gold hats and the blue shirts and go beat asses. :::Sigh::: Murca’s rurned.

Missouri at Tennessee, 2:30 p.m., CBS 

Tennessee, rising like a phoenix from ashes that have been scattered, pissed on and buried, is getting better every week and has one good conference win already against Auburn, but that was on the road. Missouri is pretty good but bad enough to lose at historic (that is to say, crumbling) Neyland Stadium. A win here would be outstanding public relations before the loyal fans who have suffered indignities untold for about 20 years or so, since last the proud Vols showed any indication of being worth a shit.

Massachusetts at Georgia, 3 p.m., SEC Network; Liberty at Auburn, 3 p.m., SEC Network alternate.

Jesus. What a fucking joke. I wonder if the Citadel could beat Massachusetts or Liberty? And can Auburn or Georgia beat Alabama? If Tua’s hurt and Jalen can’t play, yeah, they can.

UAB at Texas A&M, 6 p.m., ESPN2 

UAB’s football program got strangled in its crib in 2014 when the university president called a meeting and told the team they were disbanding after a 6-6 season, which was really good under the circumstances of being not very good but gritty and well coached. After great hue and cry from the  approximately 923 people who gave a shit, the Blazers have been resurrected and are 9-1 this year against a schedule that included wins over, oh, North Texas, Southern Miss, Rice and La. Tech.

So today, it’s on to College Station and Texas A&M, which could have won all its games this year except Alabama, but Jimbo Fisher really doesn’t need a home loss to UAB if he’s going to continue the illusion of competence necessary for resurrecting the Aggies, who didn’t drop their program, but just sucked ever since that lunatic Johnny Manziel went on to ignominy in the pros.

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network 

Ole Miss has had its moments this year, but accumulated a lot of bad karma by running the score up on the poor kids who played for schools who sacrificed their teams on the altar of a big guarantee check. They enter today’s contest having lost three straight games to Auburn, South Carolina and Texas A&M, and this is their last realistic shot at a league win. They beat poor Arkansas 37-33 a few weeks back in a game that was sort of exciting to watch if you didn’t have two praying mantises to drop in a jar so they’d fight, which would have been more entertaining by far. Vanderbilt beat poor Arkansas, too, and needs to win this one and beat Tennessee next week to qualify for a shitty bowl. Lots of luck. Commies.

Cincinnati at Central Florida, 7 p.m., ABC 

Cincinnati is 10-1. Fake national champion UCF is undefeated, as their fans will tell you if you make eye contact with one. If Cincy wins, it will create a three-way tie for their half of the AAC (Awful, Awful Conference), at least for this week. Cincinnati’s only loss came to Temple, whom UCF beat but gave up 10,000 yards. In next week’s season finale, Cincinnati has to play East Carolina, another Awful, Awful standard bearer, which is incredibly terrible, even by this league’s standards. UCF has to play South Florida, which is nothing much, but has shown signs of life. Temple plays South Florida this Saturday and UConn next week, so I guess they could lose one of those, and I sort of hope they do. If there’s a three-tie and a disputed crown in the Slightly Better Division of the Awful, Awful Conference, I don’t want to hear about it. But we will. We sure will.

 

 

Couch Potato: Keep reading, Alabama, Auburn and Clemson are near the bottom; all times Eastern and whatever

Noon

No. 10 Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan State

Will Ohio State go ahead and finally die, or will they squeak by these stiffs so they can stick around long enough to beat Michigan and screw up the Big Ten? Something’s wrong with this team, obviously.

Recap: Urban Meyer was investigated, wrist-slapped and semi-suspended just before the season after allowing a known wife-beater to remain on his coaching staff a dozen years or so and lying about it in a formal setting to every reporter that covers the Big Ten.

More recently he has publicly addressed how he suffers from a chronic condition that makes his brain hurt – he had brain surgery back in 2014, and while it’s not serious for brain surgery, there’s no brain surgery that’s not pretty fucking serious. Bless his heart and all, but it does recall how he had chest pains and quit his job as Florida’s head coach after Nick Saban beat his ass in the SEC title game, and it dawned on him that Tim Tebow, along with future convicted mass murderer, suicide, and hell of a tight end Aaron Hernandez and all those other studs were out of eligibility.

That came after Nick Bosa, an OSU legacy and the team’s best defensive player, got a non-season-ending boo-boo and said fuck this shit and quit school so he could get ready for the NFL draft independently of the teammates he left hanging.

Last week, OSU did everything but lose to the egregious Nebraska a week after getting their ass beat by Purdue, which is recognizable as a football team but did lose to Michigan State, today’s Buckeye foe.

Michigan State has two losses – one to actual football team Michigan and one on Sept. 8, when they left the crisp late-summer breezes of East Lansing to play Arizona State in a fucking desert – and here’s hoping they fired whoever scheduled that game.

Ohio State is a 3.5-point favorite. Why? I don’t know.

Navy at No. 12 UCF, Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, ESPN2

If Navy beats these guys and shuts up all the undefeated, defending fake national champions talk, it would be their greatest service to the nation since the SEALS shot bin Laden.

Ole Miss at Texas A&M, Kyle Field, College Station, CBS

Texas A&M’s quarterback has periods of dissonance where he drops back to pass then suddenly stands like a statue and holds the ball as if he had just seen a UFO. The other team tackles him and life goes on a little bit worse than before.

After barely losing to Clemson and losing pretty at Alabama, the poor Aggies have been victimized by teams needing to get well this year – Mississippi State stomped them after a four-game losing skid and Auburn came back to win last week and probably saved Gus Malzahn’s job, for better or worse.

But I still think the Aggies will beat Ole Miss, which is plagued by being awful.

Vanderbilt at Missouri, Faurot Field, Columbia, MO, SEC Network

Vandy has five losses and Missouri has four after surprisingly beating the shit out of Florida last week, so the Commies need to win out to earn a bid to a shitty bowl and get a few extra weeks of practice to develop players and stuff. Vandy almost beat Notre Dame back in September, when they could have spared us the illusion of Fighting Irish competence, but they didn’t, so damn them for that.

Mizzou beat Purdue, terror of the Big Ten, and has a good quarterback, so the Sons of Truman could win out and get a bid to a decent bowl that might even pay them enough to cover travel costs and meals. Missouri is pretty good, really. They only lost 39-10 to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, losing by 29, the same number of points as LSU, which was ranked No. 3 in the nation and played Bama after dark in fearsome Baton Rouge. Because 29 – 0 = 29.

3:30 p.m.

No. 16 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30 p.m. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, CBS

Will Alabama suffer a letdown after last week’s big win over LSU? Will they relax, having clinched a berth in the SEC Championship Game?

That’ll be the fucking day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mississippi State scores. But win? Nah.

These guys managed just a field goal against LSU’s pretty good defense, which got run ragged by Alabama, and they gave up 19 more points to the Swamp Tigers than Bama did, because 19 + 0 = 19.

The over-under is like, 54, which is coverable, considering that Alabama could score that many in the first half if Tua doesn’t re-injure his tender knee. However, the Bulldogs have a fairly decent defensive line, and they’re just the kind of team that would hurt your quarterback a month before he goes to New York to pick up his Heisman.

Hearkening back to Tua’s knee, Alabama is dinged up, which seems to happen every November since Saban beats the shit out of his team to make them tough, which works but sometimes backfires.

Last year, they lost 212 linebackers to injury which led to a scary 31-24 win over State in Starkville and a convincing loss at Auburn compounded by Tua still sitting on the bench watching Jalen Hurts run right and throw the ball out of bounds approximately every offensive snap in the second half.

Speaking of Jalen, who is the second-best quarterback in the SEC, he’s hurt, too. He’s got a high ankle sprain, which is a weird injury and takes forever to get well.

Alabama’s got the best OL in the nation, the best stable of running backs and the best group of wide receivers, but third-string quarterback Mac Jones is a nice boy and his mama loves him, but that’s about it.

No. 11 Kentucky at Tennessee, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, SEC Network

Kentucky fans hate Tennessee, which is no surprise. Tennessee leads the world in arch-rivals, but that distinction has waned a bit since they’ve sucked for a few generations.

As we’ve noted before, Tennessee has an actual football coach in place now, who has not quite managed to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear he inherited, but he has made a sort of a purse.

Kentucky got hammered by Georgia last week, as anticipated. And they played hard and all that shit, but the fact remains they can’t throw, which you just have to be able to do every now and then, whether you want to or not.

If Kentucky loses this one, they can win out and have three losses, still go to a pretty good bowl game and lose to a Big Ten team or something. But with a win, they could become the flagship of Kentucky sports, since the basketball team got poleaxed 118-84 by Duke last Tuesday, the only blue wave that happened that night.

The Vols play Missouri and Vanderbilt after this one, so losing out is a distinct possibility, and winning one of those three is a big goal of the Big Orange on the road to becoming better than awful sooner than later.

7 p.m.

No. 24 Auburn at No. 5 GeorgiaSanford Stadium, Athens, GA, ESPN

The Auburn powers announced earlier this week that Gus Malzahn’s job is secure, come what may. That could mean they have faith in his ability to win next year with even less talent than he has now, or that Mike Leach won’t return their calls.

If anybody owes Auburn an ass-beating, it’s … well, it’s Alabama, week after next. Georgia swung the hammer of righteous revenge for last year’s regular-season beatdown in the SEC Championship Game last year.

But the Dawgs hate the War Damns in general, and really need to finish strong to make the SEC Championship Game against Alabama anything more than an all-expenses-paid trip to Atlanta.

And now that Gus knows he gets to keep his $7 million a year job, Georgia is probably going to score a hundred.

8 p.m.

No. 2 Clemson at No. 17 Boston CollegeAlumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA, ABC

Clemson is scoring a lot of points, running the ball like thunder and blocking and tackling and all that shit really well. They beat Louisville 77-16 last week, which isn’t that big of an achievement. Ditto the previous week’s defeat of Florida State by many points to few. Ditto beating everybody else in the godawful ACC.

Clem will probably beat the snot out of Boston College this week because the Orange Tigers have a really good defense and Boston College doesn’t have any defense to speak of.

There’s nobody left on the schedule who can give Clemson a ball game, which is a testament to the ineptitude of the ACC as much as it is to the greatness of the Tigers.

But Clemson is definitely the only team out there right now that could play with Alabama. It’ll probably happen in the title game, the fourth straight meeting of the two Southern grid giants in the …. sorry, I fell asleep there for a second. The College Football Playoffs.

Couch Potato: The greatest college football column nobody reads

For all of you who read Couch Potato last week, I appreciate it, and will personally thank all 12 of you in person one day. But you might want to revisit it and see just how on the money my analysis was. To wit: “Before Texas A&M shit the bed against Mississippi State, I’d have picked them over Auburn without a second thought. Now, I have my doubts because this is a game between two flaky teams.” Texas A&M built a healthy lead then watched it evaporate in the final minutes after Auburn de-flaked and beat them. Michigan State beat Maryland, which is the most messed-up program in the world right now. Favored Army beat Air Force in a close one; Kentucky couldn’t beat Georgia because while politics is fucked up enough that the ones you think will lose manage to win, football is still a grim assessment of which is the better team; West Virginia and Texas was a wildass shoot-em-up between a couple of teams that are pretty good and don’t have a damn thing to lose; “Penn State has been so shitty this year, I don’t know how they’re still ranked No. 14;” and “Can LSU beat Alabama? Shit, no.” and “You know, it was LSU and Ed Orgeron who figured out how to stop Alabama’s offense when nobody else could back when Jalen Hurts was the starting quarterback … Jalen beat them anyway, but it did give a lot of coaches with better players the same idea …” and “I don’t think LSU’s offense is good enough to do enough to beat Alabama. I don’t think they’re good enough to cover 14 points.” If LSU’s offense had been good enough to get a few first downs in the second half so their defense wasn’t exposed to a dinged-up Tua and a Jalen who couldn’t play, they would have had a chance.

So, here is last week’s Coach Potato, and all the other ones, so you can show your friends and say, “All the cool kids read this guy.”

Couch Potato: Can LSU beat Alabama? Shit, no. And what about Auburn? Well, what about them? And Michigan and Penn State? Two marshmallows in a paper cup.

 

The College Football Playoff polls came out this week, and they’re total bullshit, of course.

We live in the post-truth world where imaginary caravans of lawless murder-crazed Mexicans and Middle Easterners are taking a 1,500-mile stroll up the shank of Central America to storm Brownsville, Texas and demand free room and board from the U.S. in time to illegally vote for Beto O’Rourke, and LSU vaults Notre Dame into the No. 3 position so the Tigas 8 p.m. ET prime-time on CBS game with No. 1 TuaBama will get better ratings.

The games

Three quality bloody Mary games start the day at noon ET. The secret to a good bloody is Snap-E-Tom chili cocktail mix, for which you have to pay $65 for 24 cans on eBay now because Ortega quit making it several years because it was too good, I guess.  That and celery salt.

 No. 20 Texas A&M at Auburn ESPN, noon ET

Before Texas A&M shit the bed against Mississippi State last week, I’d have picked them without a second thought. Now, I have my doubts because this is a game between two flaky teams.

A&M allowed Mississippi State’s Sasquatch quarterback the run of the field, throwing, passing, pitching, running, high-stepping and beating ass in all ways conceivable. Auburn, meanwhile, beat the hell out of Ole Miss, who I thought might win until I remembered they were Ole Miss. Their NCAA sanctions for crimes against humanity were reduced this week, but I’m not sure if that’s going to help the situation they find themselves in now, which is being a shitty team.

I guess A&M should win, but Gus Malzahn promised God and everybody that the War Damns had regained their footing on the uncertain ground that has been Auburn’s season, adding that they were poised to make a defiant November run like last year’s that made the fans change their minds from wanting to drown him in a toilet into giving him $7 million a year to, you know, continue to flounder around and occasionally look just good enough to let you know the team was underachieving, which is worse than just honestly sucking.

He already got the money and a $39 million buyout so I’m going to guess yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

Michigan State at Maryland

Last week Maryland re-instated their coach, who a lot of people felt had a lot to do with the death of one of his players in spring workouts and generally allowing the program to descend into godforsaken, unchecked chaos. There was a lot of public outcry, so on second thought, the administration called him back and said, yeah, you know when we didn’t fire you, well, you’re fired. Meanwhile on Tuesday, the punter and backup punter got into a fistfight and the starter had to go to the hospital with a black eye, stitches and a lot of broken shit. Then a bunch of the other players tweeted that the backup guy started it and was generally a dick, to which he responded, to paraphrase, fuck all those guys in their eyes and ears, I’m awesome and they’re all dicks.

I really like Michigan State’s chances.

3:30 p.m.

Air Force at Army

Army is the best of the service academies this year and they are ranked 41st in the nation, one spot ahead of Auburn. Think about that. These are 19-year-old guys who have to be smart enough to one day soon fly rocket ships or go be generals and shit, but not before getting up every morning in college and making their bed so tight you can bounce a quarter off of it. In addition to that and quite significantly, these Army (and Air Force) kids must possess complete willingness to get shot at, then crawl through the mud and go kill those motherfuckers.

What I’m saying is, West Point is a hard place to recruit to. And they’re ranked ahead of Auburn, and their coach is not making nearly $7 million a year.

 

No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 Kentucky

East-Division-of-the-SEC contender Kentucky either proves it’s for real or starts the devolution into despair we have all been expecting to happen any week now. The Wildcats can’t throw it from here to the wall, but they do run the hell out of the ball. They play defense, too, unlike all Kentucky teams since Bear Bryant left shortly after the Civil War.

Georgia has been up and down and all around but won, except for a getting that ass kicked on the road at LSU, which makes you think, well, maybe the Bulldogs could screw up and lose this thing.

“Ah,” I thought, “Shit like Georgia losing to Kentucky just doesn’t happen.”

Then I turned on the news and President Donald Trump was getting on Air Force One and I realized, yah, shit like that does happen.

No. 13 West Virginia at No. 17 Texas

The main thing I know about West Virginia is that their fans set their sofas on fire when the team wins big games. I wonder if this one would qualify? Probably not.

All I know about Texas is that they used to be hell on wheels, then Nick Saban beat their ass in the Rose Bowl for the national championship and Mac Brown went into a tailspin until they finally fired him, they tried to hire Saban but he didn’t take the job, and now they’re incrementally getting slightly better.

3:45 p.m.

No. 14 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan

Penn State has been so shitty this year, I don’t know how they’re still ranked No. 14, but you know what? If they do manage to play a decent game for 60 minutes this will be the one, because they’ll totally fuck up the Big Ten, and the Big Ten’s natural state is fucked up.

8 p.m. on CBS

No 1 Alabama (-14) at No. 3 LSU

Well, LSU’s defensive backs had the audacity to say they thought they could match up with Alabama and keep Tua from lighting them up like a forest fire.

All the Alabama fans got all “Oh, yeah! Who do you think you are? You fucking fucks, we’ll kick your ass.” Tua was all, “Oh, they are a fine team and the best we have seen and oh, such a challenge it shall be against a fine accumulation of talent and determination.”

Alabama fans never kick anybody’s ass. They identify so strongly with the football team that they think they do. Alabama fans are, in large part, pretty full of shit.

You know, it was LSU and Ed Orgeron who figured out how to stop Alabama’s offense when nobody else could back when Jalen Hurts was the starting quarterback. They put nine in the box and said, “Throw it, Jalen.”

Jalen beat them anyway, but it did give a lot of coaches with better players the same idea and two of them managed to beat Alabama.

Does Ed have another one up his sleeve? Will he rush three and drop into cover three and … then Tua will hand it off to one of those seven or eight beat-ass tailbacks and yonder they’ll go, boogedy boogedy.

I just don’t think LSU’s offense is good enough to do enough to beat Alabama. I don’t think they’re good enough to cover 14 points, to tell the truth.

I’ve been wrong once or twice.