Welcome back to another great Saturday of college football folks. The afternoon games are in full swing, and that means it is time for another College Gameday review. This week the show was broadcasting from Ann Arbor, Michigan for the big matchup between Notre Dame and Michigan; THE LAST TIME THESE TWO TEAMS WILL EVER MEET*! The show opened up at 8AM central, for what is supposed to be this year’s normal schedule of a three hour show on ESPN every week. The crowd wasn’t exactly the biggest I’ve seen, and wasn’t as big as Clemson/Georgia last week either. I expected a little bit better from these two schools. Its too bad they will NEVER MEET AGAIN TO PLAY FOOTBALL.
*Last time they will meet as advertised by ESPN, unless both schools decide that they like money in which case the series will resume
The show opened with Fowler, Corso, Herbstreit, and Howard at the main desk, to be joined later by Sam Ponder and David Pollack. Fowler had an early hundred dollar question for the group: What was the trophy called that Florida and Miami(Fl) used to play for once upon a time decades ago? The confusing answer is the Seminole War Canoe, and the hundred dollar bill remained unclaimed. Early in the show we also had the return of everyone’s favorite segment, DAVID POLLACK USING THE INTERNET!!!!
He was live Tweeting from the Michigan locker room where there is apparently a shrine to Desmond Howard. He answered about two tweets live before giving up and going back to the TV set. As the guys started breaking down matchups today, Lee Corso reiterated his bold claim that Stanford would win the championship this year, and they would make quick work of SJSU today. We were then joined by Samantha Ponder who had on another nice dress today. Jennifer predicts this will be the year of the dress with the belt to define her waistline (belt not pictured below; hidden by note cards). Other notes include that she parted her hair down the middle, and her wedding ring (courtesy of Christian Ponder) is absolutely huge.
We got an interview with Brady Hoke, and the main highlight was when Hoke declared that one John “Football” Manziel would ride the bench behind Devin Gardner if he played for Michigan. Alright then. There was a very strange segment featuring noted cellar-dweller (at least in my rankings) Mike Greenberg, of Mike & Mike in the Morning fame. Being a notable Northwestern grad, he was invited on campus to be an honorary team captain for today’s game against Syracuse. Highlights included Pat Fitzgerald not having time for this nonsense, Greenberg searching in many wrong places for the team’s offense meeting, and concluded with a goofy inspirational speech from the honorary captain. I found this segment to be unsuccessful, as it included far too much of Greenberg’s sarcastic, overly-dry, self-deprecating humor. And that is coming from someone who is full of unsuccessful, sarcastic, overly-dry, self-deprecating humor. Greenberg needs to stick to his radio show talking the Jets and Tebow every week and stay away from my Gameday broadcasts.
One of the funniest moments of the show was early on when Kirk Herbstreit started an extended speech breaking down some matchup from today, the Michigan band immediately began blaring music behind him and completely drowning him out. Intentional or not, it was quite hilarious.
I happened to notice something peculiar today. Chris Fowler was suspiciously QUITE interested in what the “experts” out in “the desert” thought about how “today’s underdogs” would “perform” against how they were “expected” to. Let me remind you that College Gameday endorses gambling in no way, shape, or form. Neither does Brent Musberger. Other Fowler notes include the fact that he continues to rag on Sam Houston State (who is playing some team from College Station with some guy that won some award last year). Keep it up Fowler, the Bearkat faithful do not forget these things.
George Whitfield Jr., quarterback extraordinaire, was interviewed again this week, and said more generic things about Johnny Football. This would be a cool segment if he went in-depth about how he sees things, but when it is so generic it is quite bland.
There was a GREAT piece by Tom Rinaldi this week about Tulane’s Devon Walker, who was paralyzed last year in a game against Tulsa. I remember seeing that game last year, and it was quite intense to be seeing it live. He wasn’t breathing on the field, and they were performing chest compressions to basically resuscitate him on the field before transferring him to a hospital. He is now paralyzed from the shoulders down, confined to a wheelchair, and is in intensive rehab. He vowed to be back on the sidelines this year to cheer on the team, and he made it. He spoke to the team before their first game this year, and the best moment of the whole segment was when they presented him with his own Tulane jersey to wear. His face absolutely lit up as they put the jersey on him. Nobody likes to give Tom Rinaldi a hard time more than he for how he tries to make stories overly emotional, but this one was absolutely fantastic, and if it can be found on Youtube or elsewhere, I highly recommend it.
Moving along, that story was followed by a piece by Gene Wojciechowski about Jadaveon Clowney from South Carolina. He went to Athens to find out how he could stop Clowney in today’s game. He polled the students on campus, and they seemed incredibly educated on football (especially the ones who said he is not a threat in this game tonight). He went around the town finding out more information about how to stop Clowney, including some possibly drunk guy tackling a cardboard cutout of Clowney. Then he interviewed some local Pop Warner players about how to stop Clowney, and they probably had the best insight of anyone interviewed. The end was pretty cute when about ten of them tackled the Clowney cutout. This segment also featured a cameo by David Pollack, who had a thing or two to say when one student said linebackers were nothing to be feared.
At this point, let’s take a moment to highlight the sign of the day. It was a slow day for signs, so the following sign is presented without comment:
There was a new segment featuring Samantha Ponder interviewing Devin Gardner including her own new snazzy animated intro. Apparently Gardner likes cartoons, Brady Hoke looks like Fred Flintstone, and they talked about some other stuff. Other notes from today’s show include David Pollack shocking the world by picking AGAINST Georgia in today’s big game against South Carolina. Somewhere the REAL David Pollack is tied up in a closet and this look-alike is soiling the good name of a noted Georgia homer. Also, Michigan still hates Rich Rodriguez judging by the boos every time Arizona was mentioned today. Michigan also hates Herbie, and loves Desmond Howard.
But now, for the real reason you came here. It came time to pick the games. Today’s special guest celebrity picker (incredibly hyped on Twitter) was Mark Harmon from NCIS. His father, Tom Harmon, is a former Michigan Heisman winner from 1940, and Mark spent some time playing at UCLA himself. This sounded like a great segment in the making, and quickly turned into the most boring celebrity guest picker in the history of College Gameday. Mark Harmon picked six games, and said six words. Indiana. Florida. Georgia. Texas. Arizona. Michigan. End segment. No analysis. No jokes. No humor. End segment. Onto the headgear pick. I predicted this year Corso would have live animals on set at least four times this year, and thought this week was going to be a loser. How on earth would be bring a live animal on set today? A wolverine would be dangerous, and a drunk Irishman doesn’t count. Corso started poking the crowd with a stick hyping up Michigan, and before you knew it, he put in a leprechaun hat and proceeded to fill the desk with live chickens (in reference to Notre Dame chickening out in this series). Herbie looked terrified as usual, and it was a really funny way to end today’s episode. Enjoy the rest of your day folks.