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THE POTATO: BAMA FAN’S IRON BOWL PRAYER

It is time once again to reflect on the great danger that confronts our nation. We must unite against a singular evil and make our hearts full, our eyes clear and our minds focused.

There is no greater threat to our way of life and the freedoms we enjoy than the perfidious Auburn War Eagles. The Eagles are a good team, with a solid defense and something that at times closely resembles an offense.

May we in this hour not forget the similar wretched conquest of another great evil that to this day bedevils our lives. With this in mind we devote our will our energy and our spirit to conquer the evil that now assails us, for if there is no victory only misery will be left behind.

May there be no peace for the Eagle of War, whose dark soul brings with it always the stench of putridity. God Bless Roll Tide, and God Bless Alabama, and may the bold spirit of the fallen Tua inspire us who live for justice and fight for right.

Amen.

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COUCH POTATO WEEK 7: College football has actual decent games, in open defiance of the broken system that produces the egregious regular season

Michigan at Illinois, NOON ET, ESPN

Here’s another game that presents overrated Michigan yet another chance to lose to a team they should beat. May it be so because Harbaugh sucks.

Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas, Noon ET; Fox

Oklahoma has rolled up astonishing statistics this season against wretched competition. Texas is not wretched. The Longhorns barely lost at home to LSU, who has become the darling of all those who want somebody, anybody, to beat Alabama. Will Jalen be able to explode through the middle of the Texas defense and thread the needle to Cee Dee Lamb far downfield to score dozens of points? Or will be end up feeling heat from surging Longhorn creatures, breaking right, flashing his 4.3 wheels to make it to the hashline so he can throw another one out of bounds for another third down incompletion and bring on the punter – like he did at Alabama before they handed the reins to Tua? Please, God, let Jalen find room to run and execute the offense because 1. he’s a good man and 2. It’s harder to watch than video of Mexican kids sleeping in cages on the Texas border.

South Carolina at Georgia, Noon, ESPN

South Carolina is just good enough to make you think, maybe they can cover the what, 25-point spread today? Then you have another sip of coffee and go, “Naaaah.”

Florida State at Clemson, 3:30 p.m. ABC

Another shitty ACC team that can’t beat Clemson, which is not terrible this year, but nothing to clutch your bosom and say, “Oh, my my.” The ACC is a dog conference, so tell me, why doesn’t Notre Dame join it, win their half every week and then try to scoot one past Clemson to go to the playoffs all the time instead of showing up like locusts – every eight years, make a lot of noise, then die.

Alabama at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Well, of course Alabama has a boatload of injuries on defense against Texas A&M, which would be a bad thing if Kellen Mond hadn’t forgotten how to play football since last year. The Tide has added about three more guys to the list of Walking Dead with blown knees, clobbered ankles and arrow wounds to the liver (I made that one up) who won’t be seen again until next season, if then. Texas A&M gave up significant yardage to Auburn and Arkansas, who are not in the same universe as Tua and the Four Wide Receivers of the Apocalypse, so it should be cruel and unusual. However, the Ags are relatively good at tackling running backs, so expect the running game to suck again this week, unless the OL learned to block all at the same time instead of intermittently, when they feel like it.

USC at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Here’s a rivalry that old men on Social Security are able to remember being good. Notre Dame, whose claim to fame this year is playing Georgia close in Athens, but still LOSING, is a 14-point favorite. USC might could screw up and cover that, since they have their main man quarterback back after a ridiculous string of injuries. And he returns just when the seventh-string guy was beginning to learn the plays.

Florida at LSU, 8 p.m., ESPN

Florida got a lot more cred than they probably deserved by removing the wheels and burning the tires of Auburn’s creaky offense last week. I’d bought in, I was all believing that this Cox freshman at Auburn was the second coming of Johnny Football only not a manic-depressive with a drug problem, and then, BOOM! Florida’s defense squashed him like a bug. It was bound to happen someday, Auburn was not all that good, but they really were starting to believe, and since time immemorial, when Auburn plays on pure emotion, they beat teams they don’t have any business beating. I just wasn’t sure that Florida was good enough to hit them in the mouth hard and often enough to level out the feel-good hormones in the War Eagle Nation’s brains. Evidently, they were.

Florida’s flaky, man, but they’re just a big, old ugly team that does what their coach tells them. They drag you down into the mudhole and get you to play their mudhole game and you do not beat a mudhole team in a mudhole. I like that redheaded quarterback, who didn’t go in the transfer portal because he loves being a Gator. Last week against Auburn he gets hurt, goes over to the sidelines, spits on some dirt and rubs it into the wound, then limps back out there and throws big, ugly passes to big, ugly receivers – who are actually prettu good. I also like that little No. 2 who Auburn said wasn’t fast enough to play for them, so he broke loose on an 88-yard, heart-spiking scoring run in the fourth quarter and outran everybody in a white shirt.

But can Florida beat LSU? Well, my first impression is not freaking likely. LSU has a really good team. But they had a really good team last year this time, and then they played Alabama and got beat 29-0, because Alabama missed two extra points, of course. So Ed Orgeron said “Yow yow! Yow yow yow yow!” Which means, “Goddamn it, we’re going to throw the ball and do all that fancy-dancy stuff and score like a big ole alligator eatin’ a bowl full of crawfish boudin balls.”

And boy, do they throw the ball. Their transfer quarterback, Joe Burrow (sounds like a train robber in the 1880s, doesn’t it? Great name.) fires dimes to that flock of wide receivers that some folks say is better than Alabama’s, but nah, I’ll believe that when I see it. But they are damn good, and they roll up and down the field like engines of helldeath, scoring 50 a game.

And they play the worst defense you ever saw. It’s hard to believe, because LSU has always had a decent defense except when the chips were down against Alabama. As we’ve said before, Alabama’s defense has been far less murderous than usual this season, but at least they have an excuse – more injuries than the Avengers after that big guy, Thanos, pushes all the buttons on that glove thing. Oh, yeah. SPOILER. If you haven’t seen a three-years old movie yet. I hate you spoiler people, who want us all to keep a secret so your viewing experience isn’t diminished because you’re too lazy to get off your butt, go to the movie theater and watch the thing.

I still think LSU’s defensive backs are good enough to cover Florida’s receivers, such as they are. And their defensive line is good enough to get back there and chase Kyle Trask out of the pocket, because I am faster than Kyle Trask, and I’m slow as a cold stink bug.

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COUCH POTATO’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL SUNDAY REVIEW, Sept. 8, 2019 – Will Florida be better with the backup QB?

Will backup QB Trask make Florida more consistent?

Poor Felipe Frank mangled his ankle against Kentucky when two 300-pound Wildcats scissored him at high speed and and his right ankle went one way and he went the other. It was horrible to watch, and harder to watch was our boy, the high-strung, emotional, hard-trying, inconsistent, water-and-gasoline Felipe in obvious pain, wiping tears from his red face with a towel trying to put on a tough-guy face and give his team a thumbs up as trainers toted him off the field on a stretcher with an air cast on his foot. He’s gone for this season, off to long months of rehab and long years of grinding pain. Dislocated ankles as bad as that one looked are a bitch – you do get better but you don’t get well.

But then, what do you know, here came Kyle Trask, perhaps the only good second-string quarterback in America who didn’t hurl himself into the transfer portal and teleport to a program far, far away. He settled the Gators down and paced an 11-point, comeback win over Kentucky, who was playing with their backup quarterback after a horrid injury to their starter. The Wildcats missed a makable field goal with 54 seconds left to pull out the defeat, then Florida tacked on a decorative touchdown on a long play in the waning seconds.

All in all, it was an exciting game and we learned a lot of stuff. Kentucky’s a program, and won’t die easy this year – they’d have won if their kicker could have poked the ball about a foot to the right so it went between the uprights instead of sailing harmlessly by the upright, leaving Florida’s then 22-21 lead intact.

I think it’s safe to say that Florida is one of those emerging teams that has some talent sprinkled throughout, but makes up for lack of talent by playing ugly. They drag you down into their swampy comfort zone and cheerfully beat you wallering in the mud, biting reptiles, stinging bugs, brain-eating amoebas and general hideousness.

Trask, a redshirt junior who has graduated and could have gone anywhere else to play, may be a steadying influence. If nothing else, he loves being a Gator, or else he’d be long gone.

If he doesn’t try to do too much, gets the ball to the guys around him who can go with it, and the offensive line steps up its game just a touch, the offense could come together enough to be a big, old ugly team that can’t do anything right but beat you.. The defense was always semi-good, in a scattered, sputtering, fail-and-recover sort of way.

The Gators, 3-0 now with a conference win, look more like a spoiler than a contender this year. But we’ll know more next week when Tennessee comes to Gainesville.

The Vols finally got a win – 45-0 over Chattanooga, which wasn’t much of a team. But when you’re stuck in the kind of nightmare tailspin the Big Orange was in, it doesn’t matter how you come out of it. That victory does not mean there aren’t a few hundred thousand Vols fans who didn’t read that demented column last week suggesting that Athletic Director Phil Fulmer fire head coach Jeremy Pruitt and take over himself to lead the Vols back to the towering heights attained under his leadership before, you know, everything went to shit.

Is Auburn’s offense starting to show up?

It’s hard to tell a lot about how Auburn performed against Kent State, who didn’t put up much of a fight.

Auburn’s defense has been the strength of the team, buying time for the offense to catch up.

But the Golden Flashes caused a moment of discord when quarterback Dustin Crum gashed the Tigers secondary with a 53-yard scoring pass. A lot of people were suddenly thinking, Oh, Lord, if this guy can do that what are Joe Burrow, Jake Fromm and Tua do?

The Tigers ran the ball the best they have all year. Baby Bo got more work under center and gets smoother all the time. They piled up more than 600 yards – but again, it was, like, you know, Kent State.

We’ll find out Saturday when AU goes to Texas A&M, which has a lot to prove after laying an egg at Clemson – even though Clemson had a lot to do with that.

It’s a big game. If Auburn wins, Texas A&M is playing for funsies. If Auburn loses, the Tigers will be behind the eight-ball from here on out.

And they’re young and growing and all that – except for the OL, which is mature and just not real good, but the feeling so far is that Auburn’s offense has been wobbling along at high speed like a car racing down the interstate with a loose wheel. You’re just waiting for those lugs to pop off.

Is Alabama that good? Is Clemson?

Yeah, yeah, they are. It’s just that we expect them to be flawless and destroy all that dares stand before them.

Alabama’s offensive line still looks sketchy at times – though it did show signs of stabilization after a miserable first quarter against South Carolina. Then Tua got uncrunk and here he went again, 444 yards and four touchdowns like it was nothing.

The defense got beat a few times by … South Carolina … and that makes you wonder what it’ll do against better teams with actually hellacious offenses. But let’s face it – Alabama’s schedule is cake. Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee are awful, and Mississippi State was pitiful losing at home to Kansas State. A trip to Texas A&M on Oct. 10 is nothing to look past, but it’s not as ominous as it once was. LSU, way up there on Nov. 11 should be a dilly, but it’s at Tuscaloosa and if Alabama hasn’t worked the kinks out by then, it’s not going to. Auburn has a good defense – and if the offense catches up and builds come confidence the regular-season finale in Auburn could be a bitch. But if Auburn loses a few games and the offense sputters, they’ll be done for by late November.

Clemson’s waltz to the postseason is even easier. There’s not a team on their schedule they shouldn’t stomp.

Alabama will have to get past Georgia, probably, in the SEC title game if all goes as expected, and the Dawgs look damn good. That Jake Fromm is a smooth operator. He just calmly drops back into the pocket and murders you, and those two running backs are horror shows. The defense is hellish.

There seem to be a lot more pretty good teams this year. Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are all scary, and could beat anybody on a good day. Maybe even any day.

But it still looks like Clemson, Bama and Georgia in that order again this year – if nobody gets hurt, which has a bad habit of happening. Oh, and if LSU keeps torching defenses and smushing opposing offenses, put them in the mix, too.

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Couch Potato: Championship weekend – Oklahoma vs. Texas and Bama vs. Georgia only ones that matter

Championship weekend would be a lot more exciting if the games weren’t meaningless. Well, except for two, which might affect seeding. 

If things shake out the way everybody thinks it will, Alabama will beat Georgia and Oklahoma will beat Texas, which means we’ll have the battle of the electrifying quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa vs. Kyler Murray in the opening round. Good. Maybe a few people will watch it, which has been a bit of a problem for the College Football Playoffs. 

The viewership of the CFP hasn’t been as colossal as ESPN hoped when it signed a 12-year contract for seventy jillion pillion dollars. People aren’t watching TV as much as they used to because the Internet is destroying the world, and college football fans tend to watch their team with ardor and ignore any other team that they haven’t laid a bet on. 

That’s why we won’t be having an eight-team playoff until they figure out how to make it rain. That, and have eight teams that deserve to be there. 

If Georgia wins, Alabama and Georgia will both go to the playoffs and Oklahoma gets screwed, and so will the advertisers who bought time on the semifinal broadcasts. Ohio State is probably going to get screwed no matter what because Notre Dame went undefeated against a cake schedule, and Notre Dame is Notre Dame and they’re not. 

Anyhow. Whatever. Here we go.  

Big 12, Oklahoma vs. Texas, noon on ABC 

The only reason this game isn’t a yawn is because Texas somehow beat Oklahoma 48-45 during the regular season, which goes to show it can be done.  

Texas is weird this season and Oklahoma scores billions and plays no defense at all. The teams hate each other, which always improves watchability.  

Kyler Murray is amazing and fun to watch, but he’s listed at 5-foot-11 in the program and is probably more like 5-9, which means if he goes to the NFL he’ll be a punt returner. 

Sun Belt, Louisiana-Lafayette at Appalachian State noon on ESPN 

Lafayette, Louisiana is one of the greatest towns to eat in that ever was if you like fried food and gumbo, which I do. Boone, NC, is really pretty with mountains and trees and stuff.  

That is all I know about these teams. 

AAC, UCF vs. Memphis, 3:30 p.m. on ABC 

UCF lost its quarterback last week to a pretty grim-looking knee injury, and the new guy is a good runner but doesn’t pass as well. Memphis only lost 31-30 to these guys earlier in the year and could ruin a perfect season and incessant talk of fake national championships and deserving a berth in the playoffs. I have yet to meet an Alabama fan who is not fully in favor of UCF earning the right to challenge the Crimson Tide in the first round of the playoffs, which should tell you something. Memphis got beat by Navy and slaughtered by Tulane, so I gotta think UCF’s got a chance even with McKenzie Milton on crutches. 

SEC, Alabama vs. Georgia, 4 p.m. on CBS 

The one thing I see in Georgia’s favor is that there’s a close-to-unanimous consensus that Alabama will beat the hell out of them, and when that happens, a lot of the time the underdog wins. However, I’ve felt that way about Alabama’s games with LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn, and Alabama beat the hell out of all of them. Nevertheless, Georgia has an elite defense, even if it did give up 36 points to LSU, whom Alabama shut out. The Dawgs also have an excellent running game and Alabama has been less dominant against the run than usual – even underachieving Auburn had a 75-yard TD against them only it was called back by a holding penalty because of course it was. If Georgia can establish the run, make first downs, keep Tua off the field and score about 38 points … yeah, sure. 

ACC, Clemson vs. Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. on ABC 

OK, last week Clemson looked so shitty against South Carolina that Dabo got mad at fans who said so and acted like he might leave and go somewhere he would be better appreciated. Within hours, Auburn started negotiating a cheaper buyout for Gus Malzahn if he wants to keep his job, which would be the dumbest financial decision ever made if Gus signs that piece of paper. Oh, I can have $32 million now and never have to work again, or I can keep my $7 million job another year if I take less than $32 million if you fire me next year after I lose all my best players? Sure! (Pro tip: Take the $32 million and go somewhere you don’t have to play Nick Saban every year). I don’t think Dabo will go to Auburn, but I never thought we’d be getting ready to send people to Mars in a few years, either, so I guess anything’s possible. Except Pittsburgh beating Clemson. Pittsburgh’s just fucking awful.

Northwestern vs. Ohio State, 8 p.m. on Fox 

Ordinarily, I’d say Northwestern and snowballs in Hell have a lot in common against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. But the Buckeyes are so flaky, it wouldn’t surprise me if they lost,  which would make Rose Bowl officials start playing Russian roulette with a full clip and one in the pipe because Northwestern has about 43 fans. But OSU looked good last week exposing Michigan as a big, slow team that played a weak schedule, and with a convincing win today would probably back into the playoffs if Texas could beat Oklahoma. The last time OSU backed into the playoffs against Alabama, they upset the heavily favored Tide and went on to win the national title. Past performance is no indication of future results.