As great as it was to be on vacation for the last two Saturdays, and as terrible as it is to have to go back to “working for a living”, it is also pretty great to be back to another lazy Saturday complete with a full dose of College Gameday. This week’s edition came to you live (and in the dark) from Eugene, Oregon for the big matchup between the Oregon Ducks and the UCLA Bruins.
I may have mentioned this before, but I can’t reiterate enough how cool I think it is when they do College Gameday on the west coast. It is cold and dark, and the fans there are absolutely rabid. As Chris Fowler told us at the beginning of today’s show, the bars closed at 2AM and the gates for Gameday opened at 3AM. Does that have any influence on the huge crowd which had gathered for such an early show? We will let you decide.
The biggest question of the day was whether or not Oregon could avoid the Gameday 2013 curse. Every team which Gameday visited this year has lost, with the exception of NDSU (Clemson won in week 1, but lost in week 8, so count that however you want). The other note of interest was finding out that Urban Meyer is the only coach to have 3 20 game win streaks in his career.
The crowd was big today, and had tons of signs, but the competition was not strong. As far as I’m concerned, the winner was undisputed.
We got a small bit of Sam Ponder this morning. She has been conspicuously absent and/or scaled back recently. Our crack team of investigators are working on finding out why Sam Ponder and Cowboy Troy have both been marginalized. She looked better this week than previous weeks. Jennifer liked the outfit. She said the boots needed to be taller, and the jeans should be another color, but the sweater was a great color.
Sam Ponder’s main contribution to the show today was an interview with Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich. Coach interviews are generic, and this was pretty generic. The highlight was Helfrich talking about their athletic facilities, and how even though it is sleek and sexy and all that, the main thing is that it helps with efficiency since they can house all of their training and everything under one roof.
Tom Rinaldi did a nice piece on Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury. If you didn’t know, he looks like Ryan Gosling. He is young and sexy and fashionable and stuff. His players love his energy. In this writer’s opinion, he is the most interesting man in college football. He gave a fashion critique of the Gameday crew. He said Kirk Herbstreit has a conservative look and could be an insurance salesman. Desmond is flashy and has style, but his color schemes are stuck in the early 90s. David Pollack looks like a classic case of “former fat guy trying to fit into skinny clothes”. Chris Fowler is right down the middle as you would expect.
After this segment, Tom Rinaldi decided to show up Chris Fowler with his own hundred dollar question. Kliff Kingsbury is the 3rd youngest coach in FBS. Which two schools have a head coach younger than him? If you guessed the obvious choices of Toledo and Western Michigan, you would be right.
We got another segment about the Sprint Football Championship. Apparently there is an 8 team league which plays football with a weight limit of 172 lbs. Army and Navy are the two powerhouses, and are playing today. This is apparently a really big deal in the military academies. It was cool to see these small guys playing high speed football along with their training.
Gene W. did a piece on Marcus Mariota. The only thing I remember about it is that Mariota is pretty good at football.
The final special piece of the week was on Stanford’s backup center Conor McFadden. He passed up a chance to go to an ivy league school to walk on at Stanford. He realized he needed to do something to stand out and have a shot at playing, so after arriving at Stanford, he memorized the playbook in 3 days. He apparently has somewhat of a photographic memory. Since college football doesn’t allow teams to photograph formations and print them out for analysis in-game like the NFL, McFadden now watches from the sidelines and draws each formation on a white board for the players and coaches to break down. Legend has it that several of Stanfords huge wins over the recent years have come in part to things Conor pointed out to the team. This kid might have a future in coaching.
But its about time to get down to the business at hand. This week’s picks included guest Ashton Eaton; world record holder in the decathlon and Olympic gold medalist. He seemed like a nice guy with some decent picks, and the picks had absolutely no football reasoning behind them. Every expert who gave a pick this week picked Oregon over UCLA, including Billy the Cat. Lee Corso went with his favorite mascot and chose Oregon before exiting the stage and hopping on the back of a motorcycle to make his exit from Gameday. Enjoy your evening of football.
It is a glorious time to be alive when College Gameday returns to Saturday mornings. The guys were broadcasting live from the site of today’s matchup where we will see #5 Georgia visiting at #8 Clemson. Today’s episode was special for two reasons: they started the real show an hour early (as opposed to last year on ESPNU with the B-team), and they went an extra hour today for a total of FOUR hours of coverage. This was amazing, since we were able to touch all of the bases with all of their regular contributors. They opened the show with Chris Fowler taking a quick moment to remember the great Beano Cook, who passed away last season.
The crowd today had some good signs, and the competition for sign of the day included such classics as “Murray has a mangina”, “I’m tied with Clowney for sacks this year”, and “I bought this sign from Manziel”. But today’s sign of the day was undisputed, and we saw it VERY briefly during the first two or three minutes of the show. I present it below without comment or attempting to explain it:
As they began analyzing today’s action, Desmond Howard was discussing today’s matchup between LSU and TCU in Arlington, Tx at the Cowboys’ Classic. He mentioned several times today that he had questions about how well TCU would function at QB after Casey Pachall “took some time off last year to get his head right”. As someone who happens to live in the DFW area, I can accurately translate that as “was kicked off the team for drug use and forced into rehab”.
The guys were joined early in the show by David Pollack who would be answering your questions on Twitter, as we saw the return of everyone’s favorite segment, DAVID POLLACK USING THE INTERNET!!!! He tweeted a couple weeks ago a nasty photo of his ankle which he severely injured, so to celebrate it he had his feet kicked up with shoes off on their dining table in the Gameday bus. I’m sure the guys all appreciated that. Lee Corso attempted to remind the Clemson crowd that Pollack played at Georgia, but they seemed confused and instead of booing him they cheered him. Maybe they were partaking in the pregame libations a tad early. David Pollack also let us know that of all the new coaches in the FBS, Gus Malzahn of Auburn would have the most success. Maybe its because he was the brains of the operation during their championship run to begin with. We will see I guess.
As our main crew started discussing the individual games today, Herbie came out of nowhere with MONSTER upset picks today, calling for 3-touchdown-underdog Toledo to beat Florida IN THE SWAMP, and UL-Lafayette to take down Arkansas . Maybe he had been partaking in the drinks with the Clemson crowd early this morning as well. He also came out with a huge prediction by saying UL-Monroe would HANG AROUND against Oklahoma, so OU BETTER CIRCLE THE WAGONS! HOT SPORTS OPINION!
Soon after, the gang was joined by Samantha (Steele) Ponder. She had a nice blue dress on with a pink belt and a necklace that appeared to be made out of chain-links. Jennifer gave it two thumbs up saying the colors were great, the belt was great, and the necklace was the highlight of it all. We will let you, the reader decide.
Other random segments included Dabo Swinney running an indoor practice this week, where he was playing Tina Turner over the loud speakers and his players had no idea who it was. Their guesses included Journey and KISS. Kids these days. Paul Finebaum came on to troll everyone outside the SEC, and also gave an unsolicited opinion that Gene Chizik is the worst coach to ever win a national championship.
We got two pieces of beatnik poetry from Tom Rinaldi today. The first, entitled “Huddle”, was basically Tom Rinaldi narrating a slow motion huddle. The players circle up. They look to their leader. The play is called. They join hands. They raise their voices. They yell break. The play begins. Fascinating. His second piece was entitled “Howard’s Rock” and after plastering his name on the screen for 15 of his 30 seconds, he glorified the tradition of Howard’s Rock.
Gene Wojciechowski had a great piece on Brad “Spider” Caldwell, who has been the Penn State equipment manager for the last 30 years or so. He is the longest tenured member of the program after the downfall of Joe Paterno. Spider met with Bill O’brien upon his hire, and was immediately seen as having a unique relationship with the players, as the upper classmen all had one question when O’brien took over: Are you keeping Spider? What is more fascinating is that Mr. Spider was born with a deformity which gave him a spine curvature of 54 degrees, and he is missing half of a shoulder blade and several ribs. He still owns the shoes that Joe Paterno was wearing when he busted ass in the 1986 national championship game. His wife sews the names on the back of each jersey by hand. Pretty cool segment. After the segment, Corso predicted another 8 win season for the Nittany Lions.
As they segued into TAMU/Johnny Manziel talk, Chris Fowler said today’s game against Rice should be an easy win, and next week’s game against Sam Houston State should be a “virtual scrimmage”. YOU HAVE MADE A POWERFUL ENEMY TODAY FOWLER! THAT IS THE FCS RUNNER UP THE LAST TWO YEARS YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! EAT EM UP KATS! Anyways, the boys all agreed that Johnny Manziel and TAMU did a great job of sweeping this under the rug, and that the NCAA looks completely foolish after this scandal. Agreed. Corso also thinks no kid should ever be paid for an autograph until their eligibility is gone. I agree, but this is another rant for another day.
The gang then took a minute to discuss AJ McCarron’s toe. He had surgery this week to remove an ingrown toenail, and should be fine for today’s game even after wearing a walking boot this week. Jennifer found this suspicious, and declared that SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON WITH MCCARRON’S TOE! *Insert ominous tone*
Bald Man on Campus returned with Scott Van Pelt. It was a really funny segment that started off with SVP pumping up the crowd by yelling “DO YOU BELIEVE IN CLEMSON?” before declaring that he does not believe in Clemson. His video clip started with him sitting on a dock at a lake at sunset pondering his beliefs in life while reading Clemson media guides. He was seeking a sign to believe in Clemson. After going around town and seeing signs pointing towards Clemson all over (Frosted Flake’s w/ Tony the Tiger, a Clemson glee club singing the school song wherever he went, and so on) he interviewed Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins and they convinced him that Clemson is a team to believe in this year. Good segment.
There was another really cool segment today about George Whitfield, the QB guru to the stars. He has worked with almost 30 FBS QBs this year alone including Tajh Boyd, AJ McCarron, and Johnny Manziel, as well as names from the past such as Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger. He takes a unique approach by including unusual drills in teaching mobility and conditioning in addition to working on mechanics. He has his students go to the beach where he has them do QB drills in sand and in the ocean water to master moving on uneven and rough surfaces. He chases them with brooms and tennis rackets to try and block their passes. He has them dodge beanbags he throws at them. He says that you must go outside of your own industry to find ways to expand the players’ skillsets in these unique ways, which is how his students are so successful. He may charge big bucks for the pros, but its only a hundred bucks an hour for student athletes to work with him. That’s still pretty pricey for some of us, but pretty cool that he makes himself affordable to student athletes.
The last major segment was a Tom Rinaldi special (AKA the Tim Tebow memorial feelgood story of the week). He told the story of how AJ McCarron met a young girl named Starla Chapman, and the bond they share. McCarron was in a waverunner accident when he was young, and suffered severe head trauma. His parents were told he would likely not survive, and if he did he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life. He survived after many surgeries, recovered, and turned into the studly Alabama QB we all now know. In December 2011, in the same hospital, he met Starla who was diagnosed with AML at age 3. She gave him a “Just Trust” bracelet, which he wore during the championship game against LSU that year, and he continues to wear it to this day during games. Starla went into cardiac arrest 6 days before that championship game, and her family watched from the hospital while doctors said she would likely not make it. She however made a full recovery and has been cancer free for two years, and AJ has recently agreed to be her godfather. Great story and a good segment.
But let’s get down to business. You came here for picks, and they made some picks. Today’s special guest picker was Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family, who we have seen before. Eric’s previous appearance as a guest picker in 2011 didn’t go too well, as he ended up 2-7 on the week. Good luck Eric, maybe this time will be better. They took a minute to highlight NDSU upsetting KState since he is a huge KState fan, but he wasn’t here to discuss that. They picked games and you can find all of that in this morning’s post. When it came time for the headgear pick, Corso baited the crowd by saying that he went 0-2 last year picking live dogs on the set, so he was done with dogs. Instead, he put on the Georgia headgear and had some live puppies brought to the desk as he confirmed that Georgia will be beating Clemson tonight. Enjoy your day.