Also, if you're interested in something football related, check out my post at warblogle.com, and be sure to skip the rest of the site.
(h/t: jmlani7, whoever you may be.)
As always, feel free to post any thoughts in the commentary section.
(h/t: jmlani7, whoever you may be.)
Now, just keep thinking about that [negative] and ignore the fact that Greg McElroy has been playing like a man possessed by the demon of Ridonkulously Good Quarterbacking and that the defense just humiliated what was supposed to be one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. That stuff doesn’t matter. It’s just the running thing. (There’s also the “unfortunate year-ending injury to starting LB Donta’ Hightower” thing. Even at Alabama, replacing a ‘backer as good as Hightower is no mean feat, but with the Tide’s 47 scholarship linebackers and a coachbot around to hand-select the cream of the crop, they should be OK.)
If the Crimson Tide isn't the most impressive team in the country through the first third of the season, then who is? Or, more to the point, what is Nick Saban's third Alabama team missing that would otherwise make it among the legitimate national championship favorites? ... But the Crimson Tide is the most serious challenger to the Gators' throne at this point. That's because Alabama is substantially better in almost every area from a year ago.
— Randy Kennedy, Press-Register (h/t: RBR)
I'm no stranger to the rain
But there'll always be tomorrow
And I'll beg, steal, or borrow a little sunshine
And I'll put this cloud behind me
That's how the Man designed me
To ride the wind and dance in a hurricane
I'm no stranger to the rain
You're right. It's a hokey way to start a column. I can't help myself, though.
In a typical football season, a few things start taking shape after the first three weeks. We understand a little more about the season as a whole.
This isn't a typical season. I?m not sure, in the SEC, if we even really know anything just yet.
Here's what we DO know, so far as I can tell:
• Florida is not invincible.
• Auburn's offense is dangerous.
• Vanderbilt has gone back to being Vanderbilt.
That's about it, really. Every team in the conference has shown a few flashes, and every team in the conference looks eminently beatable. Prepare yourself.
It certainly makes picking your average college football weekend tougher. We rebounded from the debacle of two weeks ago with a 4-2 week last Saturday, which brings us to a very mediocre 6-9 against the spread so far this season.
Things don't look any easier this week — at this point I might as well ask my hound dog for help with these things.
(Home teams in caps.)
AUBURN (-31) over Ball State: The Tigers deserve a break after last week, a tense affair that featured a ton of different emotional swings. The good news: Ball State is terrible.
(Hound dog's thoughts: Confused cocking of the head, tilted slightly to the side. I think that means he agrees.)
Arizona St. (+12.5) over GEORGIA: When it comes to Georgia so far this year, there's no way to accurately predict anything. They lowered everyone's expectations by barely showing up for their opener, then followed that with outbursts of 41 and 52 points against SEC foes.
I have no idea what to make of this team. I really don't.
So whatever — take the points this week. The line's too high, anyway.
(Hound dog's thoughts: Jumping up and licking me on the face.)
LSU (-14) over MISSISSIPPI ST.: It may take the Bengal Tigers longer than people realize to cover this line: they're not quite as good as some people think, and State isn't quite as bad. Plus, the weird early start time has thrown some people for a loop so far this season.
Even with all that, I still can't reasonably expect this State team to stay within 14 points of them.
(Hound dog's thoughts: Rolling over on his back and asking for a belly rub.)
Florida (-22.5) over KENTUCKY: Everyone's down on the Gators after last week's failure to score 100 against Tennessee. So I?ll take the opposite tack and bet they turn in a big showing under the lights against UK.
This is the last time, though — if they slop around again like they did last week, I'm going to the mattresses.
(Hound dog's thoughts: Snoring uproariously.)
ALABAMA (-15.5) over Arkansas: Any Tide fan who says he?s not a little worried about this one is either lying or drunk (or both). The Hawgs' 41-point outburst against Georgia had nearly everyone making some version of the "track meet/basketball team" joke by the time it was over.
But it also exposed a terrible weakness: namely, Arkansas' defense, which had two weeks to prepare for Georgia and still gave up 52 points at home. There's also the tiny matter of Alabama's defense, which is miles ahead of Georgia's in terms of talent and coaching.
This one looks like one you're worried about until sometime in the second quarter, when Mark Ingram bangs his way in for a 35-10 lead.
(Hound dog's thoughts: Handshake. Glad to see you're on board, boy.)
If one positive thing has come out of the past week and its torrential downpours, flooding and general mayhem, it?s been this one: everybody?s had a chance to trot out his favorite rain joke.
Sorry, but ... I mean, did we move to Seattle during the night? Is Starbucks opening up on the corner? Where did all this rain come from?
Hey guys, I'm going out to find something to eat — should I take the ark and start collecting two of every animal?
Does anybody want to come with me tonight to the football game? No? Then how about the swim meet at halftime?
And on and on (and on) it goes. You couldn't pinpoint your favorite "it's really wet outside" joke even if you tried; furthermore, the longer it rains, the lines become more popular, not less.
Obviously, the weather of late has been frustrating for everybody, from football fans (who endured seemingly unending weather delays Friday and Saturday) to event organizers (had to plan their concerts and shows around the pending weather) to emergency personnel (who've had to stand by in case of disaster). It's a difficult proposition, waiting out the raindrops.
And yet, there's a part of me that simply refuses to complain a great deal about rainfall. Maybe it's because I'm descended from south Alabama farmers, and learned very early on the value of the rain to our livelihood.
Maybe it's because I remember barely two years ago, when the entire state suffered through a debilitating drought. I'm pretty sure I vowed at that point never to complain about rain ever again. I'm attempting to stick to that.
It could be my football background. I recall spending several grueling hours per day in high school out in the oppressive heat and humidity, attempting to remain upright and functional in temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees.
In the heavy, moist air, a thunderstorm seemed inevitable. And when it finally came, we'd cheer like we'd just won something (playing football in the mud is, after all, among the most fun things to do on the planet).
True story: once during a punishing round of drills, a thunderstorm swept upon our practice field out of somewhere deep in oblivion. At first, we were ordered to ignore it and keep punishing ourselves — until a terrifying lightning strike sent everyone scurrying back towards the dressing room without even time for further deliberation. I like to think God rescued us that day.
Here's hoping He rescues everyone who's suffered because of this most recent rain. And here's to all those rainfall jokes, because they're not going anywhere, either.
Man in Heaven: Why didn?t you come and save me, God? I said I had faith You would come.
God: I sent two rowboats and a helicopter! What'd you want?
Ole Miss (-3.5) at South Carolina
Missouri (-7.5) at Nevada
South Florida (+14) at Florida State
North Carolina (+2.5) at Georgia Tech
Minnesota (+2.5) at Northwestern
Indiana (+20) at Michigan
Michigan State (+2.5) at Wisconsin
Southern Miss (+13.5) at Kansas
(Note: Has anyone read about the simmering tensions between KU's basketball and football programs? Rock Chalk, baby!)
LSU (-14) at Mississippi State
Wake Forest (-2.5) at Boston College
Pittsburgh (push) at North Carolina State
Illinois (+14.5) at Ohio State
TCU (+3) at Clemson
(Note: This is a terrifying game if you're a Clemson fan. Terrifying.)
UTEP (+34) at Texas
Miami (-2) at Virginia Tech
Arkansas (+15.5) at Alabama
California (-7) at Oregon
Troy (+1) at Arkansas State
Florida (-22.5) at Kentucky
Colorado State (+14.5) at BYU
Ball State (+31) at Auburn
Arizona State (+12.5) at Georgia
(Note: Anyone who's putting money on UGA games this year should have his head examined.)
UAB (+15) at Texas A&M
Ohio (+20.5) at Tennessee
Louisville (+11.5) at Utah
Arizona (-2) at Oregon State
Vanderbilt (-8) at Rice
Iowa (+10) at Penn State
Notre Dame (-8.5) at Purdue
Washington (+7) at Stanford
Texas Tech (+1) at Houston
Washington State (+44) at USC
(Final note: I don't know if there's a program in the country more worthy of our pity than Wazzu. In addition to having no money and very little to draw recruits in, the Cougs lost their leading rusher last week to compartment syndrome, which might've killed him. And now they have to go to Pasadena to play a ticked-off Trojan team. Yikes.)
• Head coach Bill Curry was on the field with the team, and most Alabama fans still despise him with a special flair, both for the way he left town (basically fleeing because he was tired of the pressure) and for everything that's happened since (he painted himself a martyr at every turn).
• For whatever else that '89 team accomplished, they're probably best remembered for what happened at Auburn in the last game of the season (which I will link to but not show, for reasons related to my father's mental health).
Ole Miss provided the blueprint on how to beat Florida Saturday: keep things in front of you and make them drive down the field, hope they'll get frustrated and make a mistake. Unfortunately, Coach O's D isn't good enough to do it. ...
For all its frills, [Florida's] offense is geared around the abilities of two extraordinary players: Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. And because Harvin is a slithering dart of a football player, they can't rely too heavily on him to run between the tackles.
As they showed Saturday against Ole Miss, that leaves them with Tebow to get most of the tough yards in between the tackles. And he's a freak of nature, obviously -- a 6-3, 240-pound bull who delivers licks like a fullback and also throws the ball 95 miles per hour.
The thing is, Tyler Watts was like Tebow -- sans the big arm -- during his years at Alabama. And Tyler was hurt all the time. You can't ask your QB to carry the ball between the tackles 25 times per game, continuously getting popped by SEC linebackers and not get dinged at least once or twice over the course of a 13-game schedule.
I'll say here exactly what I said after last year's stunning loss at Oregon State: USC can't keep getting passes for games like this.
ThreeFour years in a row it's dropped out of the top two or three in the polls with a shocking, inexcusable loss to a vastly inferior outfit, with the exact same set of problems: Inconsistency at quarterback, a sketchy, makeshift running game and no go-to playmakers anywhere on an offense ostensibly overflowing with them.
Unlike last year, however, I'm no longer willing to concede that one-loss SC is certain to rebound and wind up running roughshod over the rest of the Pac-10, anyway. This bunch had a laundry list of obvious issues coming in, especially at quarterback, and it's not going to solve them by getting Matt Barkley back next week from his sore shoulder. These are not fluky problems: The Trojans are not good right now on offense; they're disconcertingly young on defense; and they're banged up everywhere.
USC, though, USC is the Same Old Trojans: Win the big one, gaffe away the little one. Four straight years and counting. Again, I'll repeat myself from last September's loss in Corvallis: If Ohio State deserves to be ridiculed and scorned and run out the mythical championship picture on a rail for its primetime, big game failures, when are we going to hold USC accountable for repeatedly losing the little one?
Boise St. (-10) at Fresno St.
(Note: Has the potential to be a great game. I'm not kidding.)
Louisville (+10) at Kentucky
California (-14) at Minnesota
East Carolina (+7) at North Carolina
Boston College (+7) at Clemson
Duke (+19) at Kansas
Ohio St. (-21) at Toledo
(Note: Seriously? What's Toledo doing hosting BCS opponents in consecutive weeks?)
North Texas (+35.5) at Alabama
Wyoming (+7.5) at Colorado
(Note: When the local papers are openly speculating about your buyout, that probably means it's time to go.)
Tennessee (+27.5) at Florida
Tulsa (+15.5) at Oklahoma
Nebraska (+3) at Virginia Tech
UAB (+7.5) at Troy
Michigan St. (+11.5) at Notre Dame
USC (-23) at Washington
Utah (+4) at Oregon
Virginia (+14.5) at Southern Miss
(Note: Speaking of coaches about to be fired, it's Al Groh!)
Arizona (+5.5) at Iowa
Fla. International (+14.5) at Rutgers
(Note: Absolutely a great upset special if you're the gambling type. FIU is pretty frigging good. And Rutgers is not.)
Connecticut (+10.5) at Baylor
Navy (+8) at Pittsburgh
Cincinnati (+2) at Oregon St.
Northwestern (-3) at Syracuse
Rice (+31) at Oklahoma St.
Mississippi St. (+8) at Vanderbilt
Florida Atlantic (+21) at South Carolina
Florida St. (+6) at BYU
West Virginia (+5.5) at Auburn
Georgia (-1) at Arkansas
Kansas St. (+10.5) at UCLA
Clemson (+4.5) at Georgia Tech
(OK, fine ... I'll do it.
Clempson is a redneck school
Clempson is a redneck school
Oh de-doo-dah day.
Gonna moo all night,
Gonna moo all day,
Clempson is a redneck school
Just like U-G-A.
h/t: these guys)
Colorado (-3.5) at Toledo
North Carolina (-3.5) at UConn
Iowa (-7) at Iowa St.
(Note: Arguably the weirdest line of the day, as Dr. Saturday notes — what the heck is Iowa, a team that needed TWO blocked field goals to survive last week at home, doing GIVING 7 on the road against a Big XII opponent? I don't get it.)
Stanford (+1.5) at Wake Forest
Syracuse (+28) at Penn St.
Fresno St. (+9) at Wisconsin
Duke (PUSH) at Army
Troy (+37) at Florida
Marshall (+19.5) at Va. Tech
(Note: After last week, I have exactly zero confidence that VT's offense can score 20 points on its own. With some help from bogus penalties, special teams and turnovers? Maybe.)
Notre Dame (-4.5) at Michigan
Houston (+14.5) at Oklahoma
Texas Christian (-12) at Virginia
(Note: Holy smokes, ACC.)
East Carolina (+7) at West Virginia)
Texas (-33) at Wyoming
(Note: One of the weirdest traditions in football remains Texas' willingness to travel to locales most Big-6 schools consider beneath them and allow their fans to overtake the stadiums. They've done it with UTEP, with Houston and a few others. And this week it's Wyoming.)
SMU (+11) at UAB
UCLA (+9) at Tennessee
Mississippi St. (+14.5) at Auburn
(Note: This is right up there for bizarre lines. I know Auburn's opener was encouraging, but ... I mean, would you give more than a touchdown with them against anybody? Really?)
South Carolina (+7.5) at Georgia
(Note: Don't bet on the over for this game.)
Fla. International (+33.5) at Alabama
Air Force (+4.5) at Minnesota
Vanderbilt (+14) at LSU
Kansas (-11) at UTEP
USC (-6) at Ohio St.
(Note: This may be the ultimate sign of disrespect to the Big 10: the conference's best team, playing a team with a freshman QB, at home — which is supposed to be worth a touchdown — and they're getting 6. Yikes.)
I would bet even money on 'Bama playing for the title.
Random thoughts from people 25-35 years old
-I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
-More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.
-Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
-I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?
-That's enough, Nickelback.
-I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
-Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know"
feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?
-Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
-There is a great need for sarcasm font.
-Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.
-How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
-I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
- I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
-The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.
- A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.
- LOL has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".
- I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
- Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".
- How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
- I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a **** from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
- Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in'
examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"
- While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.
- MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
- Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
- I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.
-Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
-I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
- Bad decisions make good stories
-Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!
- Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?
-Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....
-You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
-Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.
-I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
- "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.
-I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'
-I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?
Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
- I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste..
- As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
-Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
-It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.
-I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
-Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my a$$ everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...
-It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on CNN.com and the link takes me to a video instead of text.
-I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.
-I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
-I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay Jewelers.
• "So, how many potential dog-fighting ringleaders are currently on the field for Beamer tonight?"
• "When I think about value, I think Wrangler. When I think starved for attention, I think Brett Favre."
• "The statement 'He has great speed, but they really want to show he can pass the ball' best describes a) Mike Vick; b) Marcus Vick; c) Tyrod Taylor; d) any Va. Tech QB in history."
• "What band director in H@*$ dreamed up the bright idea of adding the xylophone into the Imperial March? Needs more cowbell."
• "I will cash out my disability policy and give it to anyone willing to slap Bretn Musberger, put him in a choke hold while whispering an anecdote from the LLWS!"
• "ESPN crawl at half: Saban to Lions if 'Bama loses to Hokies, Erin Andrews tells Oprah"
• "Flash Forward on ABC: Harold discovers Kumar behind worldwide blackout in attempt to steal all White Castles and run off to VT with Doogie Howser!"
• "Who in a recession mind, you, is droppin $24.97 for what amounts to a turkey hat that you get to wear all of six times?"
• "How much you willing to bank that Musberger is wearing white knee-hi sox with his Men's Wearhouse suit?"
• "ESPN crawl: Bradford blows shoulder, Tebow responds, 'Told you God said I should have won that Heisman. I mean, I do mission work in Asia for cryin out loud.'"
• "I think I could scare a bunch of kids at Halloween if I donned a Beamer mask and carried a ma-cheh-tay."
• "And ol' Tyrod has proven he can throw: at the goal post, to a Va. Tech trainer and almost to a 'Bama db. Great job Tyrod!"