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Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: After Week 10

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

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Thoughts & Prayers After Week 10

NOT SURE IF THEY SERVE FOIE GRAS AT DREAMLAND, NOT SURE THAT IT MATTERS

Recently, I was going for a walk with my friend Phil through Livingston, Alabama.

Phil and I were on a lunch break during a business trip to Livingston and the topic of Alabama Football came upon us organically.

We tried to compare the Ray Perkins Era to the Mike Price Era.

We both agreed that the Bear Bryant Era topped both.

We then touched on the Mike DuBose Era.

But eventually I had to sheepishly ask Phil a question to which I should have known the answer.

My question was, “How many national championships has Alabama actually won overall?”

Steve answered quickly: “Most of them.”

When does a 10-0 game feel like a 48-0 game?

When Alabama devours LSU in way that Elizabeth Taylor might have devoured a made-to-order plate of unctuous Foie Gras during a Sunday evening supper with Larry Fortensky at the Neverland Ranch.

STOP AND SMELL THE YELLOW ROSES OF TEXAS

It was a fun ride for the Aggie Football Corps.

The Men and Women of the Aggie Corps spent a handful of days in the Top 4, as recognized by the College Football Playoff Committee.

I once had the hiccups for what I think wound up being three days.

I also once ate nothing but pistachios for four straight days and I spent the majority of the next four days on the commode.

Celebrate, Men and Women of the Aggie Corps!

You were among the best for a portion of this season.

WEDNESDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING

So they got it right this week.

The College Football Playoff Committee resisted the urge to replace Texas A&M with Southern California and, instead, chose to put Washington into that fourth slot, where it belongs.

The stockbrokers, investment bankers, and sports media executives out there are not impressed with UDub’s non-conference schedule in addition to being unimpressed with the university’s geographical location.

But Washington has, indeed, won all of its games and the Huskies continue to look like the real deal.

Jake Browning is a legitimate Heisman candidate.

Browning has tossed 34 touchdowns to 3 interceptions over the season.

By comparison, Lamar Jackson – the favorite of the TV folks – has a 26-6 ratio in that category.

Lamar Jackson is a phenomenal talent and is going to electrify folks for years to come.

But just look at those Browning numbers.

Are the Huskies in the #4 spot without him under center?  Was it normal when Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post had to hold back tears (essentially unsuccessfully) as he offered his wisdom during MSNBC programming a couple of nights ago?

And whether Petrino has Lamar or Jared Lorenzen at quarterback, the Louisville Hessians are going put up obscene scores and win ballgames based on Petrino’s offensive approach.

But back to the Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking.

Chris Petersen is one of the best coaches in the nation.

Washington destroys teams.

What more does Washington need to do to convince the real geniuses, the bar tenders and the sixteen Silicon Valley brains who stoop down to follow college football, that they belong at the table?

I guess the Huskies just need to keep winning right on through to what is shaping up to be an all-timer of an Apple Cup battle.

WEDNESDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING, PART II

Meanwhile, Buckeye Bravado and University of Michigan at Ann Arbor folks are inching closer to a matchup that may call for the exhuming of Woody and Bo.

Imagine the two corpses propped up gracefully and majestically, situated honorably along the sidelines in a cushioney love seat.

Imagine the weeping of the men who genuflect when the names of Woody and Bo are uttered.

Imagine the wistful nostalgia Charlie Bauman will experience as he harkens back to when Woody punched him in the throat for having the gall to intercept that pass late in the Gator Bowl.

Imagine the pride all of Bo’s disciples will tout as everyone recalls all of the national championships Bo’s UMAAers won…

Big month ahead for the six or seven teams vying for the chance to be thumped by Alabama.

WEDNESDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING, PART III

Don’t forget – Dabo is lurking.

And he loves the Lord.

CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY TO BE NAMED THE BRANCH DAVIDIAN SANDUSKY TROPHY

How about we just do this with Baylor –

How about we just all agree to bring Dave Bliss – the guy who oversaw the cover-up of a murder (granted, it was only one murder) that took place within his Baylor basketball program – back to Waco and have him run the football program, the athletic department, and the entire university?

How about we just do that?

People of Baylor – are you serious?

Black #CAB t-shirts worn by assistant coaches (including Art Briles’s son and son-in-law who are still on the staff).

A gigantic #CAB banner hanging from a luxury suite at Baylor’s shiny McClane Stadium.

Is there an ART BRILES MATTERS movement going on at this place?

Baylor University is an absolute clown show.

I don’t mean that it’s sort of silly and there are some things that are a bit askew.

I mean that the institution is outer-limits nutso.

Perhaps Baylor and Penn State might consider starting a new conference together.

It’s a two-team conference.

The teams play each other every week.

Call it Conference Fraudulence.

Name Bernie Madoff the commissioner.

Madoff can lead the conference from Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium in Butner, North Carolina.

Conference champion gets serious consideration for annual bowl matchup against Notre Dame.

Speaking of Notre Dame…

NAVY IS THE STORY, NOT THE TEAM IT DEFEATED

Rather than focusing on how Notre Dame underachieves (again), let’s celebrate how some of our nation’s best and brightest young men play great football while preparing to protect the USofA in addition to all of the other amazing things these guys will do throughout their lives.

Decades ago, the Naval Academy was a true football power.

And Notre Dame has always proudly touted its relationship with the service academies – and there is good reason for Notre Dame to be proud.

But how about the pride of the United States Naval Academy?

It’s a pride that doesn’t need any touting or publicity machine.

It’s just pride, in and of itself.

While Notre Dame continues to be, well, Notre Dame, the United States Naval Academy continues to be one of the finest institutions of any kind on earth.

And the fact that the football team – led brilliantly by Ken Niumatalolo – plays great football demonstrates that all is not going to Hell in a hand basket around us.

No rickety coaches’ viewing towers at the Naval Academy’s football practice facility.

USNA – thank you.

QUACKY

What’s more worthy of debate and consternation – the forgettable season the Oregon Ducks are having or the manner in which the state of Oregon conducts its entire election process and tabulation approach…….by mail.

That’s not electronic mail – that’s by United States Postal Service Mail.

Why don’t the Oregonians just count their votes by having everyone open up the windows to their houses (or unzip the entry-hatches to their tents) at the top of a pre-determined hour on Election Day and yell their votes out into the air?

How about all Oregonians push their wheelbarrows to the Town Centre filled with fruit if they prefer the Republican and vegetables if they prefer the Democrat (and perhaps opiates if they choose the Libertarian) and the Towne Squire counts up the piles of fruits and vegetables and announces the county winners and then sends the town’s crow to the state capital with the county winner’s name scribbled onto a small piece of paper written in quill pen?

For all of the Duck fans having a hard time with the performance of Mark Helfrich’s gang this season, they should stop and consider that their state’s approach to the nation’s presidential election is about as progressive as Oregon Ducks Football was for the 100 years prior to this era that started when uniform changes were made with virtually every offensive possession.

SHAMROCK SHAKE – ROCK SOLID; MCRIB – INEXPLICABLY WEIRD

When was the last time you had a Quarter Pounder With Cheese at one McDonald’s that tasted any less awesome than one you might have had at a McDonald’s in an entirely different part of the country?

If someone can tell me that they’ve had McDonald’s French fries in Phoenix that tasted even slightly different and less awesome than McDonald’s French fries that they’ve had in Miami, I’d really like to dig in on that experience since it would be very rare.

Consistency.

Reliability.

These are the hallmarks of the McDonald’s cuisine.

Sometimes the consistency and reliability manifests itself in unique ways.

The Shamrock Shake.

Every year in the lead-up to St Patrick’s Day, we all pine for the delicious and savory experience of the Shamrock Shake.

And the seasonal nature of the “limited time” opportunity to enjoy the Shamrock Shake only adds to the mystique of its consistency and reliability.

Meanwhile, is there a weirder or more randomly strange component of the McDonald’s menu than the McRib?

I have friends – Jay Johnson, for instance – that love the McRib.

But even McRib loyalists wouldn’t be able to tell me when to expect the McRib on the menu during a calendar (or even fiscal) year.

Furthermore, McRibbers would admit that the actual flavor of the McRib changes from time to time.

I’m fairly sure that the shape in which the McRib is delivered alters in unusual ways, too.

The McRib goes against the Consistency & Reliability Quotient that makes McDonald’s such an important and trusted portion of the societal quilt that keeps America warm at night.

Michigan State Spartans – you earned equity over the last bunch of years and you tempted us to think that you might be on the verge of reaching Shamrock Shake status.

However, without any explanation or viable reason whatsoever, you’ve gone and laid a McRib on the college football world.

What’s it gonna be, Lansing Tech?

A year ago you were Shamrock Shaking the behemoths once again en route to the College Football Playoff.

This past weekend, you laid your seventh McRib in a row in front of several people in attendance at the University of Champaign-Urbana.

Mark Dantonio – what in the hell happened?

Has Sparty reverted back to being a permanent McRib?

SHE MIGHT MOVE TO POACH BAYLOR & PENN STATE

When are conferences going to anoint leaders as commissioners for the divisions within the conferences?

When that time comes, maybe the divisional czars should be called the Divisional Superintendent.

Or maybe the Divisional Crusader.

If the SEC chose to name a leader of its Eastern Division right now, I’d strongly recommend that the SEC East Divisional Crusader be legendary icon of The Great White Way as well as the Silver Screen, Carol Channing.

Channing is still going strong at 95 and she has southern roots (she brought her Dolly Gallagher Levi character in a three-night showing of “Hello, Dolly!” to the Baton Rouge Performing Arts Center in 1967) that would make her a natural to lead the SEC East.

The SEC East deserves a graceful dignified, and powerful figure and Channing brings all of those qualities in substantial measure.

Plus, Channing’s second husband, Alexander Carson, played center for the Ottawa Rough Riders so she obviously has the chops.

And in keeping with the SEC’s progressive approach to leading the way, the actress/starlet/comedienne would do wonders for the SEC East’s proud history of supporting Title IX.

SEC East – do the right thing.

Get Channing in the Crusader’s seat asap.

And if anyone thinks she needs some support due to concerns about deep knowledge of the SEC East’s traditions, no problem – Albert Finney can ride shotgun as her lieutenant.

ON TAP

North Carolina at Duke

After Carolina defeated Duke last year, the Heels racked up something like $25,000 in damages to the Duke locker room by spray painting Carolina Blue all over the place after having painted the cart that carries the Victory Bell, the trophy that goes to the winner of this annual battle.  As a result, the Duke and Carolina people met for wine and cheeses at Il Palio on Franklin Street to address the situation.  They agreed that the trophy should be altered.  It now showcases BOTH teams’ colors and logos and not merely the winner of last year’s battle, as has been the custom since the trophy’s inception.  Former Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong advocated for the trophy to be replaced altogether with a ribbon emblazoned with the axiom “THERE ARE NO LOSERS HERE – EVERYONE THAT COMPETES WINS!”  The Duke folks weren’t happy because the shade of blue of the ribbon that Nifong had manufactured as a prototype was a little too close to Carolina Blue.  The Carolina people suggested certificates for free ice cream cones at 31 Flavors but that seemed to be too much of a logistical struggle.  So, they’re going to go with the new cart with both schools’ colors and logos.

Auburn at Georgia

Careful, Gus.  Keep your eyes on the road but do not – under any circumstances – look up ahead at the gigantic amusement park that’s starting to come into view.  If we go by Paul Finebaum’s Butch Jones Measuring Stick, Kirby Smart is a championship coach.  Gus – stay focused.

Pittsburgh at Clemson

Dabo loves the Lord almost as much as Sean Hannity has perfected the approach to obnoxious and childish gloating in a way that makes one really wonder if Hannity is a close relative (perhaps the father even?) of Veruca Salt.

Wake Forest at Louisville

Is Wake Forest really 6-3?  That has to be a misprint on the website where I just saw that.

LSU at Arkansas

With a record of 5-3, LSU is #24 in the nation.  Meanwhile, Boss Hog is 6-3 and comes in at #25.  The Halo Effect is very much alive and kicking.

USC at Washington

Nick Saban has given recently-hired film room consultant Steve Sarkisian the weekend off so Sark can head up to Seattle, reconnect with old friends, enjoy some good old-fashioned tailgating, and deliver The Sark Trophy to the winner of this ball game.  The Sark Trophy is Sark’s smiling face carved out of wood, placed atop a can of Natural Light with the Washington Huskies logo on one of Sark’s cheeks and the Troy logo on the other of Sark’s cheeks.

TOP SEVEM TEAMS THAT WOULD QUALIFY FOR THE WWW.EARTHNOWGOOD@EARTHLINK.NET BOWL

  • Zero defeats throughout the Mike Price Era.
  • Dabo loves the Lord almost as much as Rachel Maddow thinks she matters.
  • The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor’s head coach is likable in the way that the Democratic candidate who just came up short in the recent election that some people are talking about is likable.
  • The Sark Trophy stays home for another year.
  • The honor of DOTTING THE I this week goes to Lawrence Funderburke.
  • Good to see Coach Petrino speaking up about how teams have been running up the score in their efforts to score style points with the College Football Playoff Committee. Petrino’s a good guy.  Solid dude.
  • Can the trees that were rationally poisoned by Harvey Updike be exhumed and ceremoniously replanted and hoisted up alongside their replacements at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and College Street an in time for the upcoming Iron Bowl?