Each week more signs appear behind the stage at ESPN's College Gameday. Some are original and funny (Knowshon Crossing sign with his leaping outline), some are entirely inside jokes (let's make a sign with our friend's name on it and hold it up for three hours early in the morning), and some are deemed offensive and are destroyed by ESPN heavies. Which brings us to the sign posted above, "Lou Holtz Spits, Mark May Swallows." It comes to me via reader Pete and he says, " By 10:05 AM ESPN had already confiscated it and broken it apart, but it did set off quite a commotion the few minutes it was up." So now you know if you're interested in trying to sneak your sign past the heavies at ESPN, you're out of luck. Unless that sign says, "Lee Corso is a penis", then you may survive for a little while. I've always thought that Gameday doesn't take advantage of this signage enough. For instance, what if they actually made Desmond Howard do something, anything worthwhile on the show, and put him to work selecting the five best signs of the day and bringing them on set for the final segment? Or the top three signs? Actually, given his sense of humor Howard might not be the best choice. But wouldn't this be a great idea? To acknowledge all the fans who show up early in the morning and scream and yell and make the show such a success. Granted "Lou Holtz spits, Mark May Swallows" is not going to make the cut, but for original signs with good humor, wouldn't it be cool to encourage the creativity? Instead of, you know, taking a college kid's sign and breaking it up after deeming it offensive. (Offensive is a stretch here anyway, Lou Holtz does spit and Mark May does swallow...sometimes, or he would die.) Could Pete have gotten away with, "Lou Holtz Expectorates and Mark May Ingests." I think so. I want to know which ESPN guru is in charge of deciding whether a sign is offensive or not. I'm picturing this bespectacled guy sitting in front of a large HD screen on the Gameday bus, television images reflected off his glasses, laptop in lap, and googling sign phrases with laser-like focus. Then he has like fifteen guys dressed entirely in black (the ESPN shockforce), snaps his fingers, and Gino Torretta goes outside and wreaks havoc. Either that or they borrow David Pollack from CBS and send him out to say, "Golly gee, y'all should have known better," and Pollack throws the signs down and then skips from one side of the sign to another, smiling at you all the while, as he destroys your sign.
Anyway, if you've ever wondered whether ESPN brings the muscle to break down offensive signs, now you know. On to 8 other things I noted from this week's games. 1. Someone finally stopped Tim Tebow on a 4th and 1 shotgun sneak. That team was Ole Miss. Prior to this stop, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Ole Miss had all been victimized by the Tebow fourth down sneak leading to victories. It was believed by many, much like the four minute mile, that this play simply couldn't be bested. And then Ole Miss stopped it. A Houston Nutt coached team stopped it. Wow. When this final score was announced at UT-Auburn, there was a roar throughout the stadium. A roar so loud that the Florida guys with their sleevless t-shirts and the Florida girls with their bingo wings, felt a sudden chill of air on the backs of their exposed arms. Here's the play.
Note how Ole Miss sends every single player storming into the center of the line. There isn't a single player more than two yards from the line of scrimmage. If Florida goes play action here, they win. Or even with the Tim Tebow jump pass. New theory: Florida can't handle the rural SEC schools. Ole Miss has won two in a row in the Swamp, Miss. State sent the Zooker packing, and Auburn's owning of the Gators is well-chronicled. There's something about cows that spells Gator disaster. Otherwise how to explain the incongruous site of Ole Miss fans mocking the Gator Chomp with a derogatory chop of their own in Gainesville. 2. Wisconsin blows a 19-0 lead at Michigan and loses. As if that weren't bad enough this was the biggest second-half comeback in Michigan stadium history. That's 500 games. This is one of those losses where if you're a Wisconsin fan you find yourself sitting outside in the fading light staring off into the coming darkness thinking, "No matter what happens, Michigan is always going to be better than we are at football. Always." Michigan had 5 turnovers and only 21 yards of offense in the first half. And they won. Wisconsin had an undefeated team, was favored, and choked away the second half. How painful was it? Wisconsin scored on a two-point conversion to tie the game but was penalized and failed on the second attempt. 3. Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton is the worst quarterback in my life at UT. He was 8-23 for 67 yards against Auburn. To say that this game was an atrocious display of football is insulting to the word atrocious. From UT giving Auburn a defensive touchdown by failing to execute the always complicated handoff, to Auburn's quarterback, Chris Todd, having the arm strength of a girl's power puff quarterback, this thing was epically bad on every level. How bad? Auburn's fans booed their team while they were leading in the fourth quarter. How bad part two? Jonathan Crompton's entire quarterbacking skill seems to consist of throwing the ball really hard. He didn't complete a pass for the final 20 minutes of the game. At one point, though, he did manage to throw a three-yard slant pattern 400 miles an hour. No one on earth could have caught this thing. Yep, he's Ricky Vaughn. My book is going to be awesome. It might just end up being an itemized roster of how much money Jonathan Crompton has cost me.
There was no joy in either fan base aw we left the stadium. Everyone looked like they'd just witnessed an execution. 4. Duke beats UVa 31-3. Meaning that Duke, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt are a combined 12-1 this season. The only loss among the three? Northwestern beat Duke. All three are likely to go bowling. As if that weren't enough ESPN's College Gameday just announced yesterday that they're coming to Vanderbilt for the game against Auburn this weekend. Seriously, Vanderbilt is hosting College Gameday. Any Tennessee fan who said that losing offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe wouldn't hurt was a fool. Duke is probably 1-3 without him, UT is 3-1 with him. Anyway, the big news here is that Vanderbilt becomes the smartest school since Williams-Amherst to get College Gameday. I'm expecting signs that are so insulting, biting, and smart that ESPN isn't smart enough to note their sublime subterfuge. Don't disappoint me Vandy, don't disappoint me. 5. Alabama eviscerates Georgia. Much to the chagrin of Georgia fans, I've been one of those people who has been saying all along that Georgia was overvalued relative to the other teams in the SEC. But even I was shocked by this outcome. 31-0 at the half? Imagine how bad it would have been if Georgia hadn't blacked out the stadium. What's the only thing worse than watching your team lose 14-12? Having to drive back across the whole state of Alabama and listen to Crimson Tide radio announcer Eli Gold have 48 orgasms on the radio.
Here's Eli, pictured above. By the way, can Alabama fans back me up on this, is Eli the only radio announcer on the Crimson Tide broadcast capable of speaking in sentences? Everyone else he had on-air with him just spoke occasional words and then uttered sounds after. How did they select these guys? Worse, who did they beat out? Eli Gold sounds like a Shakepearean actor and his co-workers sound like stand-ins for the missing link. 6. Oklahoma is your new number 1 team after the dust setlles on Saturday's results. The Sooners dispatched TCU 35-10. Four of the top ten lose. Alabama slides in at number 2 after their pasting of Georgia. Three teams from the Big 12 join two from the SEC. Anyone who tells you they have any idea what the hell is going to happen for the rest of the season is a damn fool. Survival is the operative word. Are we headed towards another two-loss national champion? Perhaps. 7. Don't look now but BYU is going to cause some major BCS headaches. They moved up to number 8 and only play one top 25 opponent for the remainder of the season (at home against Utah on the final week of their regular season) With all the attrition up top could BYU end up in the title game? Yeah, they really could. 8. UConn took down Louisville to go to 5-0 and reach the top 25 at 24 with fellow top ten crasher South Florida from the Big East. Which brings us to a second crazy thought, could BYU and South Florida end up in the national championship game? Looking at both of their schedules they'll be favored to be undefeated come season's end (with the possible exception for USF's season finale on December 6th at West Virginia). Fans would demand a playoff then, right? Right?