Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: After Week 7

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 7

Thoughts & Prayers, post Week 7


An interesting and nuanced dynamic within the Finebaum Nation relates to the way in which Alabama humiliates football programs.

When the Tide destroy non-SEC teams in regular season non-conference games, in officially recognized bowl games, and/or in College Football Playoff games, the guffaws and chants of “SEC!” at the expense of the destroyed can be heard throughout the land as they emanate from south-of-the-Mason Dixon Line pumping stations.

However, when the Tide inflicts their brutality upon its brethren, the narrative never seems to take.

According to SEC bylaws, Alabama pummeling another SEC team on another SEC team’s home turf just further illustrates how the SEC is without peer.

I’m not quite sure how this qualifies as logical – I don’t make up the rules, I merely ridicule them.

Meanwhile, Coach Butch has work to do.

He’s fortunate his team isn’t 3-4 instead of 5-2.

If he really is a championship coach, now is the time to roll up the sleeves and get back to evening out the record.

Fortunately for the Vols, the remaining schedule includes, in order, Boom Muschamp, something called Tennessee Tech, and then The Gauntlet – otherwise known as Kentucky, Missouri, and Vanderbilt.

Past precedent exists to give Vols fans hope that Coach Butch can get the team off the schneid.

Any time the writers of “The Love Boat” got into a rut, they went to their ace in the hole – Charo.

Charo’s appearances on LB were a fix-all potion that automatically led to boffo ratings while re-energizing the creative juices.

Coach Butch – Tennessee Tech isn’t going to roll over for you.  But, you’re a championship coach.  All you need to do is find your Rocky Top version of Charo.

We know you have it in you.


When I played Little League Baseball, there was always one guy who was a grade or two too old for the league but, for some reason, was permitted to play with my age group.

I think most Little Leagues across the land had this dynamic.

The older kid– let’s call him Schwartz – was twice the size of everyone, shaved regularly, drove a car to and from the games, smoked Marlboros, and always had tokens for the arcade.

And this kid wasn’t really even that great of an athlete – but he would wallop the ball simply due to being bigger and stronger and angrier than his teammates and opponents.

And he really wasn’t a very nice guy.

In fact, he was usually a grouchy, pretty miserable and obnoxious dude who didn’t really have any friends on the team, or in the league.

However, his team always benefited greatly from his contributions.

His home run trot was usually impossible to even watch because of his obnoxious fist pumping and yelling as he’d run by the opposing players in the field.

And even though Schwartz’s teammates didn’t like him, didn’t really like having him on their team, and didn’t ever really want to get stuck sitting next to him in the dugout, they liked it when he’d hammer balls if it helped them win and give them the chance to get free ice cream at 31 Flavors afterwards.

Isn’t Jim Harbaugh Schwartz?

And don’t the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor people know that he’s Schwartz?


As a football program, isn’t Baylor Schwartz’s older brother who never finished high school and is only known to work on several hot rods that sit in disarray in the driveway all year round?


Are those the sounds of the Syracuse Orange we’re still hearing that exploded from the bowels of the Carrier Dome after a monumental win over Virginia Tech?

I wasn’t sure that the university was still functioning, let alone had a football program with a pulse.

Welcome back, Orange – that pulse looks, feels, and sounds great.

James K. Polk – the 11th president of these United States – was a demure and staid figure, not known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve.  But even the late former Commander in Chief would have been roused by Dino’s locker room fire after that win.

Dino – great stuff.  You’ve caught our attention and we’re happy about it.

President Polk had a steadfast commitment to forwarding Jacksonian principles, notably Manifest Destiny for America.  Coach Dino is starting to get it going upstate.  If he keeps grinding, the Orange might realize its own Manifest Destiny.

We’re watching….


To all of you folks out there who have taken exception to the way in which I’ve challenged The U during this college football season, let me assure you that I do, in fact, recognize that The U is a real, accredited university that offers students a chance at a very mediocre education.

I also recognize that The U has had a proud tradition of playing its home games at Hard Rock Stadium, continuing a long and storied era of playing its home games at Joe Robbie/ProPlayer/Dolphins/Sun Life Stadium – which followed an era when the Orange Bowl would sometimes almost be full during home games – where hundreds of fans cheer on The U each time The U has hosted opponents there throughout the ages.

And, to those of you who have had a hard time seeing the forest through The U, I see good things ahead with Mark Richt at the helm of The U.

But when you perform a face plant against Carolina, you make the tens of loyal fans of The U yearn for the glory days of Randy Shannon.


Thinkers and Prayers know what The Halo Effect is.

But for the uninitiated – The Halo Effect states, loosely, that varsity football teams that are members of the SEC are to be recognized as dominant football programs, juggernaut football programs, and championship football programs simply due to being members of the conference.

The football program that best represents the manifestation of The Halo Effect is the University of Mississippi.

Due to The Halo Effect, Mississippi, despite two losses that came as the result of what can be charitably referred to as “collapses” in the beginning of the season, entered this past weekend ranked 12th in the nation with a record of 3-2.

Because, after all, aside from simply being an SEC school, Mississippi has shown to be a juggernaut for decades and has earned its place among college football’s elite class.

When Mississippi came up short this past Saturday to Boss Hog, the Rebels’ won-loss record “fell” to 3-3.  This, under normal circumstances, would lead to a football team being seen as “average.”  But, Mississippi is The Halo Effect’s darling.

At 3-3, Mississippi finds itself in the cozy confines of the Top 25.

Mississippi is sort of like Susan Lucci when she engaged in her annual quest for that elusive Daytime Emmy.

Everyone knew The Lucci Body of Work warranted the recognition.

Everyone knew Lucci was merely the victim of bad luck, fellow stalwarts who exhibited extraordinary performances, and, perhaps, persnickety voters who thought Midwestern-rooted daytime artists were more deserving of the bling.

But, as we all know, eventually Lucci was rewarded with the trophy she always deserved.

Mississippi fans still have their eyes on the prize: at 3-3, the Rebels continue to warrant serious consideration for the College Football Playoff.

And, of course, with each week, the nation continues to prepare for the excitement of The Egg Bowl, played annually on Thanksgiving evening or the Friday after Thanksgiving or the Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekend or sometimes, depending on various factors, the weekend just prior to Thanksgiving.


Wisconsin has lost to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 14-7 and now THE Ohio State University 30-23 in overtime.

Based on the way Mississippi is treated with Oil of Olay-treated cashmere mittens, shouldn’t the Badgers actually go up in the polls this week?

Good, solid win by THE Ohio State University.

If there is anyone who doesn’t see that J.T. Barrett really is the best player in all of college football, I’d like to offer to pay for that person’s four-year education at The U.


P.J. Fleck must be a regular reader of “Thoughts & Prayers.”

His Western Michigan Broncos pulled an Alabama on the Akron Zips’ home turf.

The 47-0 win didn’t occur at General Neyland Stadium and, instead, took place at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field.

But 47-0 is 47-0 and counts for yet another victory.

College Footballers – Western Michigan is gonna to run the table and it’s gonna end the season with a final tally of 12-0.

And, folks, Western isn’t the only Bronco program that’s gonna end the season with a perfect record.  Boise State is back at it, people.

Boise State and Western Michigan are like the clean and sober boyfriend that your divorced aunt just started dating who shows up for Thanksgiving and knows every answer during Trivial Pursuit.

Dad is the only one who’s allowed to know all of the answers – but he’s getting pretty drunk and Aunt Marggy’s pal, Stewart, knows his stuff.

Stewart isn’t trying to make Dad look inferior – it’s just happening organically.

And, Aunt Marggy’s partner wasn’t shy about espousing his liberal tendencies right there at the table as Dad carved the bird, too.

Bog Boys – brace yourselves.  The Broncos are infiltrating.


I read a headline of a written piece on a very important sports website that read “Forget His History: Lane Kiffin Deserves To Be A Head Coach Again.”

If someone can convince me that Anthony Weiner deserves to be a congressman again, than maybe they can convince me that Lane Kiffin deserves to be a head coach again.

I’m confident that if Kiffin was the coach of my 9-year old son’s Gladiator football team, I’d be so embarrassed and aghast at the way the team was run and managed and represented that I’d go so far as to encourage my son to consider playing soccer.


Texas A&M at Alabama

No Aggie Corps Men and Women to cheer on the Aggie Football Corps in this one.  The SEC gets to push around the Southwest Conference while Verne and Gary get to speak in reverential tones about Dreamland ribs.

TCU at West Virginia

Holgorsen chugs Red Bull and the Mountaineers burn couches.  Each done with passion, purpose, and pride.  Coach Holgorsen continues his march towards what could be an actual Big 12 Championship game against Baylor on the final Saturday of the season.

Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan

The hottest rivalry in the state of Michigan heats up as Eastern is, astonishingly, 5-2.  Western, at 7-0, is preparing to defend its home turf.  Going into Dwight B. Waldo Stadium is about as much fun as a trip to the podiatrist when you’re suffering from even moderate gout.  I don’t know what the Broncos’ all-time home record is at Dwight B. Waldo Stadium but someone told me it’s pretty good.

Oregon State at Washington

Would you believe me if I told you that the Apple Cup down the road just might have two prizes: a College Football Playoff berth and a Rose Bowl berth?  You should believe me if I told you that.  I haven’t actually “told” you that, though.  I haven’t actually “told” you anything because I’m not actually speaking to you.