I’m proud to announce that the weekly College Gameday review is returning again this year (only a week late). Week 1 did not have a review due to the holiday weekend, but I’ll get around to writing one up for posterity soon. Anyways, let’s get this thing going.
Today’s edition of Gameday came to us live from Eugene, Oregon for the big matchup between the Oregon Ducks and the Michigan State Spartans. It started early out there in Oregon, where they are broadcasting at 6AM local time to a rowdy crowd of true fans and/or drunkards (please note the bars close down at 4AM, just enough time for a burrito run after the bar closes on your way to Gameday). This marks the 6th year in a row of Gameday broadcasting from Eugene, and the 9th time overall. Apparently classes don’t start at Oregon until September 29th. I don’t get it.
I’d like to stop down at this point and discuss something from week 1. I’m sure you noticed there is a newly revamped Gameday intro song and video featuring Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy singing “Comin’ to Your Citaaayyy”. This new edition features poor audio levels on the vocals, mediocre new lyrics, some random woman fronting the band, and a hipster rapping after Cowboy Troy. I don’t know who this random woman is or the rapping hipster (I gave up after Googling for no less than 15 seconds), but they are unnecessary. Please write your congressman to let them know we need the previous Gameday intro back. End rant.
After Chris Fowler opened up the show by introducing everyone, it was noted that Desmond and Chris were matching-suit-buddies. They stopped down for a cute suit-buddies photo.
As for today’s game, the forecast calls for a 40-degree swing in temperature from morning to night, with gametime temperature in the mid-to-upper 90s. Who does this favor? Who knows. Other early statistical note: As ESPN continues to pimp their new Football Power Index (FPI) system HARD, they project LSU has a 99.8% chance of beating Sam Houston State today.
Anyways…. Today’s crowd was a wild and rowdy crowd as always in Eugene, but signage was somewhat lacking in genius. Highlights include “At least Oregon doesn’t have Detroit”, “At least the Pac12 can count”, “Uh oh, Michigan State needs another bailout”, Reddit user garguinchona sporting the upside-down “Go Cougs!” sign all morning, but we will give this week’s best sign to this fellow.
Onward we go to the SAM PONDER OUTFIT OF THE WEEK featuring REVIEW BY @GAMEDAYJEN. Jennifer called is “Simple, elegant, slimming, and pretty. Not weird like some things she wears”.
There was a great segment highlight the walk-on player at various colleges. It was a really cool segment as they showed video of various walk-ons being surprised after earning a scholarship for their hard work. Really touching stuff. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said that if you own a business, you should go hire some walk-on football players, because they are the ones who have the work ethic and dedication to earn their spot wherever they end up.
Apparently this year they are bringing on a local celebrity chef to do some grilling on-set at each stop, and this week’s Gameday chef of the week was Michael Swartz, who is the head chef at some place I don’t know and is no doubt very talented at making things. There were some GREAT Desmond Howard over-laughs during this segment as they exchanged banter about food.
Week 2 also saw the return of BEATNIK POETRY WITH TOM RINALDI!!! This week’s piece was entitled “Green”. It included such deep, thought provoking statements such as “Nature. Youth. Currency. Envy. Let the royals have their purple; the sky its blue. This field has one color: Green. And we all know what green stands for… go”. Just pure gold from Tom Rinaldi.
This week’s Chris Fowler hundred dollar trivia challenge was asking what the first college football game on ESPN was back in the day: Oregon vs. ????? The answer was Colorado. I thought ESPN got their start broadcasting football from D2 playoffs back in the day, but maybe I’m wrong.
We also got a nice Gene W. piece on JT Barrett; QB from Ohio State. Basically he has moved from backup to true leader in a matter of weeks. Then we got a piece from Tom Rinaldi about Marcus Mariota, who is one of many in a long line of famous Hawaiian quarterbacks such as the great Timmy Chang. As much as I thoroughly enjoy bagging on Tom Rinaldi, he really does some fine work.
Following Tom Rinaldi’s piece, we got another exclusive segment with QB guru Georgie Whitfield. Amongst all of his quarterback clients is none other than Marcus Mariota. Now I’m sure you’ll be shocked, but George is pleased with the improvement he has provided to his paying client. Lots of good generic quarterback mechanics being discussed here. I’m truly thrilled.
As we returned to our Gameday crew breaking down games, there was a random Jesse Palmer chant which broke out from the crowd. I don’t get it but I was totally stoked because Jesse Palmer is awesome. How can you not love this man?
During this segment, you might have noticed that Desmond was no longer matching Chris Fowler’s outfit. He went and changed into a darker blue jacket for this segment, before mysteriously going back to his original in the next segment. Quite whimsical if you ask me. During this discussion, Desmond managed to predict a Michigan win over Notre Dame in order to fulfill his contractual obligation with Michigan that he remain their #1 cheerleader in the world.
This week’s inspiring “Tim Tebow Memorial Segment” was about Michigan fan Stephen Loszewski. After one year of freshman highschool football, Stephen became weak and started losing weight, before being diagnosed with ALL (a type of leukemia). Due to his treatment he could never play again, but he continues to coach youth football and root for Michigan. During the segment at his home, he was delivered a letter from Brady Hoke inviting him for a campus visit as a real blue-chip recruit. Then GIGANTIC HUMAN BEING Jake Long showed up to give him a stack of hand-written letters from the Michigan staff. He was taken to the Michigan campus where he met with Coach Hoke before being led into team meetings and practice by Devin Gardner. He got to fulfill his dream of running out of the tunnel with the team during a practice, leading a warm-up chant, and catching a pass in the endzone. To top it all off, Desmond Howard showed up to meet him. Really cool segment.
At this point, it was time to get down to the business at hand: picking games. David Pollack was the first up to make his prediction for the big game, and although he said “Mariota is gonna ball”, he went with Michigan State to pull the upset. Our special guest celebrity for the day was the Oregon Duck “Puddles”. This segment quickly fell into chaos, with Puddles using props for all of his picks. There was a toy elephant (Bama), a toy rocket being launched (Toledo), a blender being run through half of the segment (?), and fruit loops being spilled all over the table. This pick segment was tiring to say the least. However, the grand finale was top notch. After Desmond picked Oregon and Kirk picked Michigan State, Puddles put on a poorly-assembled fake Puddles headgear made out of a cardboard box to signify picking his own team. He then presented a wrapped up present to Coach Corso, and to our surprise it contained his own Puddles headgear to keep! Charley the Cat also chose Oregon after going 1-0 last week, so Charley and Corso will remain tied for another week. Enjoy your Saturday, and have a happy football!
Can you even believe that this is WEEK 10 of college football? I feel like it was just yesterday that we were kicking off this year wondering CAN VIRGINIA TECH KNOCK OFF ALABAMA IN WEEK ONE? Apparently Alabama held them off. Anyways, today’s edition of College Gameday was broadcasting live in color to your television set from Tallahassee, Florida for the big matchup between Florida State and Miami. Surely I’m in a time machine saying Miami @ Florida State is the biggest game of the year.
This week’s edition opened up with Chris Fowler, Desmond, Herbie and Coach Corso getting us pumped up. Then due to what appeared to be technical difficulties, we did not get the opening Big & Rich music video. Due to this fact, I cannot confirm whether or not they are comin to your citay. Nor can I confirm a little zing in your zang zang, nor any bang in your yin yang and so on.
Early on in the show, we got some GREAT highlights of Lee Corso’s time playing QB and cornerback at Florida State circa 1955. I love watching old timey football. Maybe that is because I think I probably could have played big time football in 1955. Either way, it is always fun to watch the Lee Corso playing highlight reel.
Sam Ponder joined the show again today. I believe her role has been reduced and firmly set into interviewing a coach live on set each week. I much preferred last year’s Gameday itinerary where we had Sam Ponder hosting the opening hour with Pollack and Desmond Howard, before handing it off to the A team. This week she interviewed Jimbo Fisher, and generic coach interview was generic. Speaking of Samantha Ponder, she had what was determined to be the best outfit of the year on today. Jennifer said she loved the necklace/chain thing, that Sam had great hair, that the leather pants were a nice touch and the heels were enjoyable.
Speaking of Jennifer, I would like to officially announce the launching of “GAMEDAY JEN” on Twitter. You should probably follow her @gamedayjen for all of the expert picks, hot sports opinions and sports fashion advice you could want.
While on the topic of sports fashion, what is the deal with QB guru George Whitfield? I’m not going to break down his segment this week, because if you saw his segment a month or two ago, it was the same segment (just substitute Jameis Winston for the name of the week). What I’m wondering about is his fashion choices. He is not an overly large man, but his clothes appear to be tiny on him. His jacket button looked like it was barely holding on by a thread and that the button could shoot off into Chris Fowler’s eye while making an old timey gunshot-ricochet sound at any moment. Also, isn’t it against the rules to wear a pocket square if you are going sans tie with your top three or four buttons unbuttoned on your shirt? I mean, what’s the deal with that? I don’t claim to be a fashion guru (although my sweatpants might disagree), but come on George.
The signs were EVERYWHERE at today’s Gameday, but I was thoroughly disappointed. Quantity does not equal quality. The only real highlights were “The real Miami is in Ohio”, and “I’m drunker than Sunshine Scooter”. This week’s winner is courtesy of Reddit user DeuxBoy.
Now that we have that out of the way, I would like to discuss a new regular feature of Gameday this year. What is the deal with the six man highchair roundtable discussion segment each week? I’m talking about the segment where they get Fowler, Herbie, Corso, Desmond, Pollack and Paul Finebaum all in tall director’s chairs to sit awkwardly and talk over each other for ten minutes. They try to debate things, but it just turns into a blurry mess of Desmond Howard telling us about a great receiver, David Pollack making a separate point about some Georgia’s defense, Herbie letting us know that Ohio State doesn’t have the resume to move up in the rankings, and Paul Finebaum telling us that the ACC or Big 12 is worthless compared to the SEC. It is like watching six separate conversations happening at the same time, and it is quite frustrating. Also, I really feel like Paul Finebaum and Desmond Howard don’t like each other.
During this segment, Chris Fowler offered up the hundred dollar question of the week: Other than NDSU, what other two FCS teams are undefeated? Obviously it is Fordham and Coastal Carolina. WATCH OUT FORDHAM AND COASTAL CAROLINA, SAM HOUSTON STATE IS COMING FOR YOU!
This week saw the return of the “Tom Rinaldi Beatnik Poetry Piece of the Week brought to you by Tom Rinaldi”. This week’s piece was entitled “November”. T.S. Elliot once said that April is the cruelest month. Tom Rinaldi has decided November is the cruelest month. Upsets happen and dreams are shattered. Incredibly deep stuff.
Rinaldi also had a piece on Jameis Winston from FSU. He seems like a genuinely likable kid who likes to have fun. He is a pitcher for FSU as well. He likes to motivate his teammates whether or not he is involved in the action. His best line was “If you can play, then you can lead”. Good stuff.
Gene W. had a piece on Fresno St QB Derek Carr (brother of Houston first round bust David Carr). He was highly recruited coming out of highschool, and then fell into a rough crowd. He liked to do hoodrat stuff with his friends. Then his girlfriend (now wife) wrote him a letter stating that he was not the man she once knew, and he turned his life around. He had a little baby named Dallas, and the baby had some serious intestinal problems requiring three surgeries in the first month. The baby is now recovered, and regularly attends Fresno St games in tiny Derek Carr jerseys. Pretty good little piece of work by Gene W.
Bald Man on Campus returned with SVP and Duke Johnson from Miami. It was overly casual and they talked about his mom requesting nothing more than a win over FSU over Florida this year. I feel like there have been a lot of pieces this year about Player X being raised by his mother alone, and their relationship as the kid becomes a football star. Good stuff, either way.
When it came time to make the picks, Coach Corso looked like he had gotten a chill. He suddenly had on a heavy overcoat and a scarf as they made their picks. Today’s guest picker was country music sensation and incredibly handsome man Jake Owen. He had very little sports perspective to contribute to this segment, and mostly picked based on wherever one of his roadies went to school or some sound engineer he partied with one time. He has FSU ties, so it was no shock that he picked FSU. I thought for sure Coach Corso was going to give us a NOT-SO-FAST and pick a HUGE upset of Miami over FSU. I thought this because he never disappeared to become Chief Corso of the Seminole Nation like he usually does. However, he ripped off the heavy coat and scarf to reveal that he was wearing his 1954 FSU jersey and put on a helmet (sans facemask) to let us know where his heart lies. Billy the cat also picked FSU, so the two remain tied whoever wins tonight. Enjoy your evening folks!
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.