Week 2 of the 2013 campaign sees the aggies doing their best impersonation of an FCS team, Mack and Coach Boom pining for each other, and a rapper in the booth inspiring other odd on-air pairings. Let's dive right in.
Fightin' Texas A&M Fightin' Texas Aggie Fighters - Movin' On Up
So our very own Week 2 viewing guide listed three games on pay-per-view last week. Participating teams included Samford, Southeast Missouri, and Texas A&M. Clearly the move to the SEC has been a good one for little brother. Way to go, ags.
On the plus side, they should be on a channel most viewers can actually receive this week, as #1 Alabama rolls into town (and I use the word "town" very loosely) to smack the farmers around in their own house (and I use the term "house" very loosely; I read somewhere this morning that CBS officials have some concern because of - get this - the height of the press box at KY field). The line has moved up to Alabama -8; I'd be inclined to lay the points.
(And yes, I fully get the ironic nature of poking fun of the aggies for being on pay-per-view as we await our upcoming game on LHN. I still bet more people get to see the 'Horns this week than saw the aggies last week.)
The Mack and Willie Show
Florida v. Miami turned out to be a fairly entertaining affair, if you don't mind the fact that not a single bit of offense was played. Miami had something like 3 yards of offense after their first drive, during which the UF defense was caught off-guard as they stood around comparing biceps. Once they realized the game had started, they clamped down on UM's offense, but by then the damage had already been done, as UF's offense couldn't get anything going against Miami's D.
Muschamp is clearly not an offensive genius. Charlie Weis was strike one; whoever he has now is strike two, apparently. I realize that after Saturday night's dumpster fire in Provo a defensive-minded coach might be the cure for what ails you, collective Longhorn fan, but Coach Boom might not have been the savior we were all hoping for when we wailed and gnashed our teeth at his departure a few years back.
And before you say, "Yeah, but he would've had Bryan Harsin here to run the offense," allow me to point out that Harsin's new team, the Fightin' Arkansas State Redwolves, just got held to 9 points by Auburn (yes, the one that went 3-9 last year and won zero conference games).
And before you say, "Yeah, but Harsin would've had Texas talent to work with here," allow me to point out that he had Texas talent here when he was employed here, and he was mediocre at best. And Manny Diaz and Major Applewhite have (or had, in Manny's case) Texas talent here now, and we're a dumpster fire. I think the "man, what could so-and-so do with Texas talent?" meme needs to die a quick, fiery death. Texas talent clearly isn't any better than lots of other talent.
How to Root for SEC Teams
Can somebody please tell me how, as a fan of college football, am I supposed to root for teams in the SEC? Take Georgia v. South Carolina, for instance. I pulled for Clemson to beat Georgia because Georgia plays in the SEC and everybody is tired of the SEC. Plus, it's safe to assume Clemson will pull a Clemson and get beat by somebody else this season, therefore taking themselves out of the big-boy football picture. Clemson won, so everything is groovy.
This past Saturday, we had 1-0 South Carolina against 0-1 Georgia. Now, conventional wisdom says we should pull for Georgia to knock off South Carolina, thereby leaving two SEC teams with one loss each. The problem with that theory is that a one-loss SEC team is equivalent to an undefeated team in any other conference as far as the media and the voters are concerned. Georgia plays LSU later this month and UF in November; otherwise they play exactly no one with a pulse (UNT, Tennessee, Mizzou, Vandy, Appalachian St., Auburn, Kentucky, GaTech). An 0-2 Georgia would likely be out of the MNC picture, but a 1-1 Georgia is very likely to wind up playing in the SEC championship with yet another shot at putting a one-loss SEC team in the MNC game.
An undefeated USC, though, isn't a much better alternative. They play UF and Clemson in November, but otherwise they have a cakewalk (UCF, UK, Arky, Tennessee, Mizzou, Miss. St., and Coastal Carolina). There's a good chance they could end up in the SEC title game, too.
Alabama has a laughable schedule this year. Only this weekend's tilt in Collieville and a November visit from LSU constitute true threats. Similarly, the aggies only have to get past 'Bama and a mid-November visit to LSU to waltz into the SEC title game.
So how are we supposed to root when it comes to SEC games if a one-loss SEC team is better than an undefeated team from any other conference (Oklahoma State says "Hi!"), and a two-loss SEC team is not much worse (1998 Florida and 2007 LSU say "Hi!")?
Awesome New On-Air Personalities: Name Yours
Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit, Eminem.
Wait - what? In case you missed it, there was a segment during the broadcast of the Michigan/Notre Dame game where Brent and Herbie were joined in the booth by Eminem, and it was even weirder than you're imagining. Mushmouth channeled his inner Keith Jackson, going off on a weird tangent about gambling. Kirk played the straight man, clearly uncomfortable with the whole thing. And Eminem, wide-eyed and fidgety, looked and felt completely out of place. The GIF here does a pretty good job summing up the segment.
As bizarre as this was, it makes me wonder what other creative pop culture icon/broadcaster fusion recipes we cancome up with. How about a sideline segment with Petros Papadakis and Kanye West? Or a tag-team post-halftime coming-out-of-the-tunnel interview featuring Holly Rowe and Mini-Me? Or maybe Erin Andrews and Brooklyn Decker eating bananas?
While researching this article (don't laugh), I came across the following quote on Wikipedia (in reference to coaches not voting the BCS Championship Game winner #1): "It is speculated that the three coaches who broke ranks and violated their contractual obligation - Lou Holtz of South Carolina, Mike Bellotti of Oregon, and Ron Turner of Illinois - did so because they believed that USC was the best team."
It is speculated? Speculated? You mean there are people to whom it's not totally screamingly obvious? Why else would the three coaches violate their contractual obligation to vote for the winner of the BCS championship game if not because they believed another team was the best team? This brief snippet should tell you all you need to know about what's wrong with the current ranking systems. There are too many shady people of nefarious intent with official sanction to participate in the process for it to be anything remotely resembling fair and unbiased.
Finally, in response to the small explosion of "We should offer Saban $10 million!" posts in recent days, I would like to say this: Stop and Think. Many of these posts come from the same people (and sometimes in the same breath) who complain that we aren't getting our money's worth out of Mack and his staff. While I agree with that sentiment, I do not agree that the solution is to throw even more money at the problem. On the contrary, I think we ought to be looking for somebody we can get on the cheap, relatively speaking, and whose pay we can link to their performance. Coaches don't get their pay lowered; ergo, they aren't as worried about performing when they make more money (may I present Mack Brown as exhibit A). Paying Saban $10 million isn't going to make him want to perform better; he has inner demons that make him want to perform better.
As we continue to monitor the long, downward spiral of Mack's coaching career, I'd like to take a moment to disabuse you of the notion that Texas needs to make a big-name hire and fast. What if I told you there's a guy out there with 10 years of head coaching experience, 17 years of FBS-level defensive coaching experience, three conference championships in the last seven seasons, three national championship appearances in the last three years, and two national championship wins in a row?
I'm sure somebody more qualified than me will be doing some in-depth analysis of potential head coach candidates in the very near future, but I think we could do worse than Craig Bohl at North Dakota State. His buyout is peanuts as far as UT would be concerned, and he's proven he can beat both FCS- and FBS-level competition (under his leadership, NDST is 7-3 against FBS schools, including Kansas State two weeks ago). Plus which, we could bring him in at a reasonable salary that is firmly tied to the team's performance, instead of offering him stupid money right off the bat.
What are your thoughts?