Chris Fowler summed up the second week of college football when he said on ESPN Gameday: "The fans deserve a better slate of games than these." He was right. Several of the games turned out to be exciting but there was nothing particularly gripping about a roster that only featured seven games, seven, where the point spread was fewer than seven points. Nonetheless we college football fans persevered. What's more, I wasn't on the road this weekend so I was able to sit and watch every major game on Saturday. Here are 11 things that jumped out at me from Saturday's games. 1. ESPN's love affair with Tim Tebow is well established. Hell, America's love affair with Tim Tebow is well established. But, even still, did Gameday really need to bring us multiple segments featuring a shirtless Tim Tebow working out? I didn't think the day would ever come where I'd want more footage of Tebow performing circumcisions but, yeah, it did. It's time Vegas starts offering odds on what Tim Tebow's dark side actually is. I'm convinced it's something seismic. Like ESPN is going to do a story from Tebow's apartment where a shirtless Tebow will be reclining on his couch when suddenly 28 little naked Filipino boys keep walking into the room. Speaking of which, how overwhelming was the sexual tension when Erin Andrews interviewed Tebow after the game. Like televised viagra. Is ESPN going to have to pull Andrews off Gator games soon?2. When did Houston Nutt get fat? The guy has put on about 20 pounds since he joined Ole Miss. Is this because he's not sending as many text messages to hot reporters now? Or does expecting to get fired burn many more calories than having job security? Also, starting quarterback Jevan Snead is white? I'm going to have to really reconsider how many third down conversions he's picking up when the pocket crumbles. 3. Riley Skinner and Sam Swank are Wake Forest football stars. They also have the greatest gay porn names this side of Vince Young. What's the over/under on number of inappropriate posters that are getting confiscated at rival ACC stadiums connected to Skinner's naked photos? Better question, name a BCS team that you would eliminate from contention to win the ACC this year. There isn't one. Vanderbilt would have a chance to win the ACC this year. Seriously, they would. 4. The Bill Stewart honeymoon is over; The Skip Holtz derby is going to be fascinating. Couple of questions about this game. First, what percentage of people turned on West Virginia at ECU and said, "Why is West Virginia playing at ECU?" Any college football fan with a pulse is the answer. This still makes no sense to me. Second, how many more awkward Lou Holtz and Skip Holtz interviews are we going to be subjected to? This thing made The Hills look inspired and fresh. Finally, in the wake of the latest double-digit underdog loss, I'm picturing bodies stacked like cordwood in the ditches surrounding Morgantown/Deadwood. All day Monday there are funeral processions marching up the hills which will end in a wooden cross being stabbed into the bare dirt. Then no one will ever question what happened to the dead. Which reminds me, who made the decision to cut Deadwood yet greenlit an HBO show about southern vampires? Meanwhile, right now, some poor fan base is going to pay Skip Holtz millions of dollars a year to take over their football program after this season. Tough luck.
(This man above will break your spirits. Eventually. But at least his nipples will be as sharp as razors.) 5. Jake Locker has to be the most frustrating quarterback in the country to coach. You have zero clue what he's going to do from one play to the next. His performance on the final drive of the game crystallized this fact. On three consecutive downs he missed wide open receivers. Leading a Utah native I was watching the game with to say, "See, this is when starting white cornerbacks starts to catch up with BYU." Then on 4th and 10 he drops back to pass and rushes for ten yards for the first down. Then, you've all seen it, he scores with 2 seconds left and promptly gets flagged for tossing the ball over his head. What I love about this is how everyone immediately rushes to the rule book to confirm that by rule this is excessive celebration. No shit. But referees aren't hired to merely enforce the rules without any self-awareness. If they were every college football coach in America would be kicked out of the game for entering the field and arguing a call. What we ask referees to do is show discretion in applying the rules. Consider the situation, consider the intent, and consider the implications of your call. And the ref showed none in this case. Making a call like this isn't unheard of. The same thing happened to Vanderbilt against Florida in the 2005 season. Vandy scored to tie the game and their receiver did a shimmy of sorts. He was immediately flagged and Vandy had to make the ensuing extra point from a great distance. Vandy's coach said they would have gone for 2 and the win rather than play for overtime. Finally, on Locker, whoever was calling the game for Fox Sports said that Locker would be the best running back in the Pac-10 if he played running back instead of quarterback. This is an insanely stupid comment, right? I'm not an expert on Pac 10 football but this can't possibly be the case. 6. Ohio State survived against mighty Ohio. Yeah, yeah. Is there any college football fan in the country who doesn't root for Ohio State that doesn't want USC to beat them 50-3? That was a couple of double negatives there and might have gotten confusing. Rephrased, unless you're a Buckeye fan the entire country wants to see you utterly destroyed come this weekend. Also, after the game we're traveling to the state and stealing all of your attractive women. All 14 of them. 7. What's up with Jimmy Clausen's hair? He looks like a lame French bus boy from 1963. "Quelle horreur, le JFK!" Was this a penalty for losing the Beer Olympics? Or is he just trying to enjoy having hair before the Clausen genes click in an he follows in the footsteps of Rick and Casey and loses his blond hair? I'm going with the latter. Nice win for the Irish hanging with the plucky San Diego State team that lost to a Div. II school last week. Great moxie. Put them in the top 25. 8. Can we get a referendum on no one else being allowed to be referred to as Tim Tebow-esque? Dave Rowe (who has moved from JP/LF/Raycom to Fox Sports; did he see the ax coming?) constantly referred to Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour as Tim Tebow-esque. Same thing with Jake Locker. As much as I hate the Gators, find another comparison. LeFevour is Jonathan Crompton-esque at best. 9. Did you see Randy Shannon's reaction when Urban Meyer kicked the field goal to cover the spread—this made the score 26-3 and covered the 22 point spread— late on Saturday night? Shannon was cursing Meyer to the high heavens. Which led to the shortest post-game handshake between the two men this side of Bill Belichick. Also, Gators fans, back me up on this, leaving Tebow in until the end of the game was incredibly stupid, right? Why is Meyer doing this? What's more, why is he dropping Tebow back to pass with a unassailable lead and less than five minutes to play? Especially when Tebow had been decked a ton of times in this game. Miami's defensive line absolutely dominated Florida's offensive line for about 50 minutes of the game. Steve Spurrier used to catch an awful lot of crap for running up the score but Meyer does it more than any coach I've seen of late. Of course this might be because Steve Spurrier's teams can't score anymore, but, still, there were lots of Gator fans pissed that Tebow was still in the game, right? 10. I just finished Wille Morris's book, The Courting of Marcus Dupree. It's an amazing book that tells the story of Marcus Dupree, the top recruit of the 1982 football class who happens to be from Philadelphia, Mississippi—the town made infamous by the murder of the three Civil Rights workers in 1964. The book is over 25 years old but is one of the best sports books I've ever read. Insightful, compelling, and if you're like me and had never heard of Marcus Dupree before, incredibly compelling. Fairly often people email me wanting tips on sports books to read. Read this book. I sort of feel like LeVar Burton now.
11. And, lest we end with the literary, Central Florida fans threatened to kill Matt Grothe's father after they got ahold of his cell phone number. Meaning Grothe's father was under police protection for the entire game between South Florida and Central Florida. Ahh, college, such sweet and harmless prankery.