Crowley Sullivan

Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: After Week 3

Crowley Sullivan is a 20-year sports-media veteran having spent ten years at ESPN as a producer, programmer, content creator, business developer, and brand manager.  He now serves a EVP, Planning/GM, Sports for MandtVR, a content creation platform that emphasizes Virtual Reality initiatives.

Bother Crowley at @CrowleySullivan

Thoughts & Prayers: Week 1 | Week 2

SUNDAY REST FOR SATURDAY’S BEST

Imagine how pleasant Coach Petrino’s Sunday afternoon ride on his Harley must have been this week.

With Coach Pitino seated snugly in the pillion, the two must have had a great time basking in the glory of the Cardinals’ explosion on Saturday afternoon.  Maybe they stopped somewhere in a lovely field adjacent to a Kentucky horse farm, laid out a blanket, had some wine and cheeses, and talked about the programs they proudly lead.  Hard work calls for Sunday rest.  My mind sees Coaches Petrino and Pitino having a nice connection.

The only counsel I’m in any position to give to the newest phenom that’s turned the college football world upside down is this: Lamar, resist the temptation to join Coach Petrino on any of his Sunday afternoon hog rides. Take this advice, and you might end up giving Coach Petrino the chance to have the hog ride of his life.

MISSISSIPPI BURNING

Let me see if I have this right.  A team surrenders multiple three touchdown leads against opponents – strong opponents, to be sure – and remains ranked with a record of 1-2?  Only The Halo Effect* would allow for this.  Mississippi is Mississippi in the way that Robert Downey, Jr. is Robert Downey, Jr.

Respect from the “experts.”  Admiration from the fans.  Excuses from the apologists.  Potential, potential, potential.  And, when all is said and done, Downey, Jr. will be best known for having executed some flawless method acting in “Less Than Zero.”  But I know – “The Grove” is a real life Xanadu.

(*”The Halo Effect” is a relatively unreported phenomenon from which SEC football programs benefit due to the fact that they are members of the conference.  See Mississippi.  See Tennessee.  See Mississippi State.  See Texas A&M.  See Arkansas.  See Missouri.  See Florida.  See South Carolina.  See Paul Finebaum.)

HIS REVIVAL OF “FAMILY FEUD” WAS THE BEST REVIVAL OF “FAMILY FEUD”

Speaking parenthetically of Paul Finebaum – Finebaum, as was reported right here in this space, said in August, and I quote, “Butch Jones is a championship coach – the record just hasn’t evened out yet.”

I once said this: “Louie Anderson is one of the best comics and game show hosts we’ve seen in at least four generations. It’s just his general presence, his physical appearance, the tone of his voice, the words that he speaks, and his lack of talent that keep people from recognizing him the way he deserves to be recognized.”

While Butch hasn’t been around for the duration, his football program has lost more times consecutively to Florida than Louie Anderson-hosted Family Feud viewers pined for Richard Dawson.

If Tennessee can win this game, Coach Butch will have done something that calls for something other than a smirk.  But until the Vols manage to get past their bugaboo, the Vols are the Vols, despite Finebaum’s unorthodox measurement quotient of a championship coach.

BACK TO BASICS

Ohio State took a basic approach to its trip to Norman.  Basically, the Buckeyes prepared for a game that would be hard fought, stick to the basics and, basically, show that they’re for real.

Oklahoma faced basic hurdles and, basically, couldn’t find solutions to the basic challenges of the game.

Basically, Oklahoma’s season is finished.  And, basically, Ohio State destroyed the Sooners on a day when the basic need was merely to win even by a slight margin.

Basically, Ohio State is poised to make a very serious run at eventually making a basic appearance in what has become a basic component of the college football dynamic – the College Football Playoff.  Bob Stoops, basically, needs to encourage his Sooners to get back to the basics.

BILL BATES STILL FEELS IT

Georgia – resist the urge to get persnickety about a one-point, skin-of-your-teeth win over Missouri.  Instead, know that when you have a freshman that finds a way to pull out a win on 4th and 10 with 90 seconds left, you have reason to be bullish.  The last time you had a freshman that performed such feats of strength, things turned out nicely.  One thing is for sure – this guy is feeling good about the Dawgs:

THE HORSE IS HOLLOW – OR IT MIGHT BE MADE OUT OF CHOCOLATE AND IS FILLED WITH NOUGAT

Clay Helton is now 1-4 as the leader of the Men of Troy.  There was a lot of bluster for months about how USC was about to make its triumphant return to the limelight.  With a tough trip to Utah this week, Southern California is in trouble.  And, strangely, all of their stylish supporters are awfully subdued. Has Will Ferrell decided that he likes Phi Slamma Jamma now?

PHI SLAMMA JAMMA’S WARMUPS WERE SENSATIONAL

Some of you thought these guys were in trouble.  Some folks saw what was happening in Nippert Stadium and thought the Coogs were going to be on the outside looking in.  Sorry, folks.  Phi Slamma Jamma isn’t losing a game that currently appears on its 2016 regular season schedule.  I’ll keep saying this and it’ll continue to be factual.  If anyone is interested in making things interesting, I’ll put my Kurt Bevacqua-autographed baseball on the line.  Any takers?

“LIFE IS A SERIES OF COMMAS, NOT PERIODS.”

Those are famous words of wisdom, courtesy of Texas supporter, motivator, occasional coach, Dwapara Yuga consultant, and general gurubhai, Matthew McCoughnoughneyghey.  The Horns and their fans needed him this week.  Just when it looked like all was right in the world, Cal-Berkeley had to go and sprinkle some Haight-Ashbury pixie dust all over the place.

Perhaps the Berkeleys managed to smuggle some depressants into the sorghum sandwiches that were served at the Horns’ hotel.  McCoughnoughnoughey needs to get back in front of this team – and right quick.

HELLO, AGAIN

Michigan State.  When you beat Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame all on the road over a span of ten games across two seasons, it matters.  When you win as often and for as long as Michigan State now has, it more than matters.  Notre Dame is the latest program to get thumped by Mark Dantonio’s gang.  State was the underdog in all three of the aforementioned games.  That whole “favorite” and “underdog” thing – it matters to a lot of people, just not the Michigan State Spartans.  Continue to underestimate them and they’ll show their gratitude by continuing to send teams and coaches to the nearest rubber room.

SPEAKING OF MICHIGAN’S NON-RIVAL RIVAL

There isn’t any other way to say it – Jim Harbaugh picks his boogers and eats them.  We all saw it.  It is indisputable.  And it needs to be said in an officially published offering.  If Coach Harbaugh challenged the call or if the play went directly to review, it would have taken all of four seconds to confirm the ruling on the field.  If there is anyone out there – up to and including Harbaugh himself – who disputes this, that person should send me their home address and I’ll send them my Kurt Bevacqua-autographed baseball as a sympathy gift for being insane.  And, while we’re at it, as has been mentioned already, Michigan’s season doesn’t start until October 29th.  And they do not play Colorado on that day.

DOES THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS APPROVE?

If someone can explain to me why Texas A&M has the hard-to-understand and unofficial military element integrated into its student body, I’m all ears.

Gary Danielson, during the Aggies’ overtime win over UCLA a few weeks ago, spoke reverentially and solemnly of how UCLA didn’t want to have the ball in OT down near “the Aggie Corps Men and Women.”

What/who is/are the “Aggie Corps?”  Are those people dressed in those costumes because the clothing is comfortable?  Are they in the Reserves?  Are they protecting College Station from the Mexican Intruders Mr. Trump speaks of?

I saw an Aggie Corps man raise a saber heavenward and lower it toward a canon signaling the canon firer to fire the canon after an Aggie score.  Please – someone explain all of this to me.  It’s flummoxed me for many years.

As for the Aggie Football Corps – I see you there lurking.  Keep winning and we’ll talk.

THIS WEEK’S MENU

Florida at Tennessee

ALERT: Paul Finebaum appeared on a sports television channel and said, out loud, that the Big Ten is the best conference in college football.  My sources tell me that immediately after that television appearance, he went straight to a voodoo Houngan to rouse up spirits and magic designed to deliver potions and prayers for the greatest game ever played in the history of the sport when Tennessee hosts Florida this week.

Clemson at Georgia Tech

For Dabo, Coach Petrino & His Biker Gang are revving just over the ridge, waiting at the roadside tavern.  Then Florida State is down the road, assuming they’ll continue to show up for games that appear on their schedule.  But anyone who looks past Paul Johnson does so at his own peril.  Johnson might be one of the more underappreciated coaches in the game.  Anyone who wins at a Johnson clip at the stops he’s made deserves a Kurt Bevacqua-autographed baseball – or something even better.  That flexbone spread option is a headache and he’s a very quiet 3-0.  Beware, Dabo.

Arkansas at Texas A&M

Maybe Bret Bielema knows what the Aggie Corps is/are.  Maybe we’ll find out what it/they are on this week’s episode of “Being Bret Bielema.”  I’m no TV Producer – but – a good way to make sure this is properly integrated into the program would be to have Bielema’s former Las Vegas waitress and current wife search high and low for the answer during a door to door visit through College Station.  I’d be very interested in that episode.  Especially if after discovering the answer to the question, Bielema’s former Las Vegas waitress and current wife decided to get into a mud-wrestling match somewhere with someone.

Wisconsin at Michigan State

Paul Finebaum now loves this game.  He’s spent the last twenty years making fun of it and all that it represents.  Now, according to his appearance on a sports television network, this is the type of game that makes college football so special.  This is the type of game Finebaum now loves to talk about when he talks to people over the telephone during his radio program.

This is the sort of game that Paul Finebaum dreamed of when he was water skiing during his summer vacation this past July.

Paul Finebaum – it’s here.  Enjoy it.  Prepare yourself – these teams tackle opposing players by using formulaic techniques.  When ball carriers change direction, they shift the ball from one hand to the other.  Touchdowns do count for six points (1 extra point is earned with a short “field goal” attempt).  Successfully executed field goals earn teams three points.  The team with the least amount of points at the end of the game loses.

Stanford at UCLA

A Peterbilt 379 going up against an Emilio Bozzi eleven-speed.

LSU at Auburn

Does this game still count in the SEC standings or has it been deemed an exhibition?  That’s just a well-intentioned joke.  I know this game counts.  It actually counts in a significant way.  Things are wobbly and weak on The Plains.  Auburn must stay focused on LSU and not be tempted to look ahead to the visit from the ULM Warhawks.  LSU is still muttering in its gumbo and moonshine and many folks have still not returned from the Tundra.  While this one has a chance to be rather sloppy, one team’s fortunes turn shiny after this one is over and one team’s fortunes turn to excrement.

FAILED TWO-POINT CONVERSION

So happy to know, for sure, that Autumn 2016 is in full swing by seeing the advertisements for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”  While I’ve never seen a second of this program, its name has always impressed me in so many important ways.  Hard to believe that, prior to this third season having kicked off, the program boasts only 66 episodes.  Giving serious consideration to blocking off all of next weekend and binging.

DON’T PAVE PARADISE

If one is to find one’s self in South Bend, Indiana for some reason, one should visit Gill and enjoy his approach to managing Park & Party.  Lovely patch of well-cut grass that serves as the home for Recreational Vehicles that are rented by people who are not important enough to park the Recreational Vehicles within a whisper of the Grotto.

Gill’s warm and welcoming vibe combined with the well kept gravel of the road the buttresses up against the grass lot would all make Father Hesburgh proud to have Gill sort of aligned with Notre Dame.