Crowley Sullivan

Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: After Week 5

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 5

I saw a nifty feature on a snappy college football pregame show that aired on a cool sports television network Saturday morning.  It chronicled the unique surname of University of Michigan at Ann Arbor tight end Jake Butt.

Of course, there were plenty of yucks baked into the cheeky piece fronted by a very important sports writer who now is a very important sports TV commentator and pundit.

And along the way, Jake Butt referred to himself and his name as “a brand.”

Last season, UMAA Australian punter Blake O’Neill had trouble with the snap and UMAA’s non-rival rival wound up stealing the game in the last ten seconds.  O’Neill caught a lot of flack for mishandling that snap.

One of the players that got off scot-free, without anyone ever even mentioning his name as someone who was largely responsible for the never-before-seen ending, was Jake Butt.

He got absolutely steamrolled by the Green & White defenders and it appeared as if Butt was daydreaming about his own “brand” while being manhandled, even though the punter was the butt of all of the vitriol.

However – punting digressions aside – I’m inspired, and I need a brand, too. More on this in a moment.


Forget the Big Ten or the Pac 12 or Conference USA or any other of the lower level conferences that want to claim to be the best conference from top to bottom this season.

The ACC now has five teams in the Top 25 – and they’re all legitimate.

It should be six, if you count Florida State.

Clemson and Louisville played a game for the ages Saturday night, with Lamar and Deshaun putting on the show everyone was hoping for. And now, that makes it two years in a row that Clemson defended that one endzone in the waning moments against a charged group.

Last season, the Tigers kept Notre Dame out, and Saturday night they had to stop the Biker Gang from revving through.

And along with the stop, that means Dabo is right – at some point, it’s about heart.  You either have the will – and the guts – to win or you don’t.

Bobby Petrino has the will to go for really cool hog rides, and he has the will to write then leave very touching notes to professional football players in their lockers upon departing them before the season has concluded. But it appears as though Dabo knows how to instill the will to win into his football program.

Keep at it, Dabo.  More pizza parties down the road.

North Carolina’s win over the Seminoles on the road was monstrous for this basketball program playing football.

The fact that Nick Weiler looks like a member of Charles Manson’s Family in a past life makes it all the sweeter, sprinting around the field while Tomahawk Chopping at the folks in disbelief.  That look of his isn’t just a look – it’s a way of life.  And that dude earned the right to chop at those fans.

Marc Richt and The U? 

Is someone from that really important group of producers at the really cool sports television station taking notes?

A sixth version of the 63 For 63 documentary series on The U needs to be developed, conceptualized, story boarded, brainstormed, treated, scripted out, discussed, and papered.

Cue up the film of the fellas in the fatigues and juxtapose it with the by-the-book style of actual former Canes player Coach Richt.  There – Act 1 is already set.

I know we’re only four games in but Justin Fuente doesn’t seem to miss Memphis all that much.  The Hokies appear to be playing inspired football, including a nice touch with a different Hokie donning Coach Beamer’s old #25 every week.

Enter Sandman is going to be rocking Lane Stadium just like the old days sooner than we thought.


That Tennessee/Georgia game was sensational by every measure, representing everything that’s so great about college football.

Going back and forth all afternoon in a beautiful and magically intense setting with both teams putting on a show for the ages, Tennessee has now made two consecutive impressive comebacks when it was looking like things were falling apart.

The comeback against Florida was one thing, but to come back from 17-0 between the hedges and then somehow, some way, find a way to whip up one of the most exciting victories in recent memory certainly makes this look like a charmed team in 2016.

There’s a long, long way to go, but FINALLY, Coach Butch and Tennessee are on the radar.

As Paul Finebaum has said, “Butch Jones is a championship coach – the record just hasn’t evened out yet.”  Maybe the record is in the process of doing just that.

However, part of being a championship coach is looking the part. Would Bear Bryant, John McKay, Jimmy Johnson, General Neyland or even Barry Switzer collapse to the earth and weep immediately after any victory of any kind?

Coach Butch – get it together.  Things are starting to get serious.


Vanderbilt is a wonderful university that provides students with a terrific education, and every once in a while it puts a basketball team together that manages to creep towards being relevant.

But the football program at Vanderbilt has never, ever been relevant, and te SEC folks can’t just pretend that the school isn’t a part of their conference.

You get Alabama, but you also get Vanderbilt.

And Florida and Vanderbilt played a football game on Saturday that people attended, television covered, writers wrote about, and officials registered into the records as a game that counts for each team’s 2016 football season.

The people who attended this 13-6 Florida win – which no one really should’ve won – game or watched it on television really deserve a personal phone call from the head coaches of the competing teams, Jim McElwain and whoever the other guy is.

McElwain said in the post game press conference, “A wise man once told me that you even have to bring your ugly baby home from the hospital.”

Credit McElwain for having something few people, let along head football coaches, have – self-awareness.

When your baby is ugly, it’s very hard to acknowledge it.

When you do, you earn my respect.


My name is unusual.  Some people think it’s weird.

I’ve gone through my entire life dealing with people mispronouncing it, mangling it completely, asking me what it means, and not really getting that it’s an actual name.

I once was watching a very intense and important March Madness Regional Final game featuring my squad, and my squad’s head coach had just been T’d up during a feverish comeback in an attempt to reach the Final Four.

One of the guests who my wife had invited to watch the game with us revealed that he had never watched a March Madness game ever before in his life when he asked me, just as the technical foul was being administered, “So – ‘Crowley’ – that’s the most unusual name I’ve ever come across.  Why did your parents give you such an unusual name?”

I didn’t answer the question.

But I’ve decided to go shopping …

Equanimeous St. Brown – Wide Receiver, University of Notre Dame

Thaddeus Snodgrass – Wide Receiver, University of Kentucky

Poet Thomas – Offensive Lineman, Texas Tech University (not totally sure if this is a “technical institute”)

Man Berg – Wide Receiver, University of Illinois

Damore’ea Stringfellow – Wide Receiver, University of Mississippi

Nomluis Fruge – Linebacker, University of Houston

Corn Elder – Defensive Back, University of Miami

Hercules Mata’afa – Defensive Lineman, Washington State University

Cassanova McKinzy – Linebacker, Auburn University

Poona Ford – Defensive Tackle, University of Texas

Squally Canada – Running Back, Brigham Young University

Jazzmar Clax – Fullback, University of Connecticut

Bar Milo – Offensive Lineman, University of Miami

Pig Howard – Wide Receiver, University of Tennessee

T.V. Williams – Wide Receiver, University of Kentucky

Great Ibe – Linebacker, Eastern Michigan University

Wonderful Terry – Defensive Back, Western Kentucky University

My name is actually my middle name.  My first name is Robert, and a lot of my closest pals actually call me Bob.  I love when they call me Bob, but Crowley is a family name.  It’s my grandmother’s maiden name, and since I’m named after my dad, I’m a junior – and I’ve been Crowley to everyone for most of life.

Until now.


Wonderful Butt Sullivan.

The Buckeyes have plenty of reasons this week to demonstrate Buckeye Bravado.

The team continues to dominate in prolific ways and it’s appearing as though this year’s squad is managing to stay focused on the task at hand and not daydream about their TransAms, the special service they get at all of the Columbus tattoo parlors, and the rigors of Ohio State University’s academic environment.

J.T. Barrett and his buddies are positioning Urban Meyer for a real run at the hardware, but this past Saturday’s best story related to Buckeye Bravado has to do with one of their great icons.

Former head coach Earle Bruce was honored by being given the opportunity to DOT THE I during The Best Damn Band In The Land’s performance of Script Ohio before the game.

What a touching moment.

Ohio State shows, once again, what a unique and classy place it is by bringing home one of its favorite sons.

Paraphrasing the Ohio State collective fan base in 1987:

“Why in the hell did we ever hire this bum?  I don’t care that he’s gone 81-26-1 and has a Big Ten record of 57-17 – this guy is not worthy.  We need to kick him the hell out of here.  Someone needs to just pin a note on his front door, maybe put twenty or so FOR SALE signs across his front yard, and probably steal his dog, too, so we can just be done with this idiot.  And let’s get Cooper locked up ASAP before someone else grabs him….”

Paraphrasing the Ohio State collective fan base in 2016:
“Hi there, Coach Bruce – yeah, it’s Flip Montgomery from Gene’s office ………. Gene Smith, the athletic director at THE Ohio State University……right………yes, good to talk with you.  Say, we’d like to honor your contributions to our football program this coming Saturday by having you DOT THE I during Script Ohio.  You think you could come to Columbus and do us this honor?……..Yes, yes, the fans will all cheer because we all love you… now ….You’ll do it? Oh, that’s great!  See you Saturday!  And, sorry, this is a bit awkward – but – you still owe us a few bucks on your membership dues at The Schlichter Club in town…”


We’re all still catching our breath from Weiler’s ethos, from Coach Butch’s collapse to the sod of the playing surface and his subsequent weeping, from the roast beef chomp fest in Ann Arbor, from The Cossacks running out of gas within spitting distance of Logan’s Roadhouse, and from Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson speaking with reverence and solemnity of the time-honored traditions of the SEC.

But there’s no time to take a rest.

Virginia Tech at North Carolina

Will Weiler take the field with his hair braided, hanging out of the back of his helmet?  If Tech can take this game, the Hokies could begin to see a realistic path to the ACC Championship.  Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky isn’t just playing lights out football for the Heels; he’s on the “others receiving votes” for the “What’s In a Name, Part II” section.

Oklahoma vs. Texas

It’s hard for millennials to understand this since the footage of yore is so grainy, but this game used to be a big deal.

Florida State at Miami

Some folks in positions of power within the athletic department at The U gave Larry Coker a call this week.  They asked him to accept their invitation to DOT THE I during The Marching U’s performance of Script Miami.  That’s reason enough to check this battle out.

Tennessee at Texas A&M

The Butch Jones “championship coach” experience record will even out despite the challenges that the Aggie Corps Men & Women present at Kyle Field – including those guys that dress in those white outfits and lead cheering things for the Aggie Football Corps.

Washington at Oregon

Now the Ducks are going to wear uniforms that say WEBFOOTS across the front.  The part of the jersey that covers the shoulder pads will be adorned with the lyrics to the Oregon Webfoots’ fight song.  Practice this entire week in Eugene has been dedicated to fashioning the uniforms so that the color schemes could be tweaked appropriately for the television broadcast.  The Webfoots have not announced if they will compete in the game after taking the field from the locker room before kickoff.

Alabama at Arkansas

Arkansas hasn’t beaten the Tide since 2006, and now this game is the first time in five years that two ranked teams have played in Fayetteville.  Arkansas won’t be ranked after this game but everyone will be talking about how tough it is to play Arkansas – in addition to talking about the interesting and touching love that exists between Bret Bielema and his former Las Vegas waitress/current wife.

LSU at Florida

Coach O is now 1-0 as LSU’s interim head coach.  I’m not positive but I think that brings his individual and separate records as interim head coach to 1-0, 3-2, 4-1, 3-4, 0-1, 1-1, and 1-5-3-2-1-1 from the time he served as the interim head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.