Crowley Sullivan

Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: Week 1

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

A few weeks ago, Paul Finebaum said – on the air, for all to hear – that the state of Louisiana was lucky to have Les Miles as a – wait for it – father figure.

Yes, the state of Louisiana has had to deal with challenges recently.  What part of the country hasn’t?  The folks in Beverly Hills are probably up in arms over something, too.  And I get it about Louisiana, obviously – but Les Miles is really a “father figure?”

Miles and all of the folks who made their little trip up North appeared very confused with the whole thing – and they’re even more confused now.

Reports from Green Bay say that people dressed in purple and gold are still wandering the streets aimlessly, muttering incoherently, asking passersby how one is supposed to eat a bratwurst.

Here are some things that nobody is really even talking about:

  • Wisconsin left a lot of points on the field.
  • Wisconsin beat LSU up and down the field in what some might dare to refer to as a Big Ten Slug Fest.
  • Wisconsin won the game with a quarterback making his first start ever.
  • Wisconsin surrendered 50% of LSU’s points on an ill-advised third down throw deep in its own territory that resulted in a pick-six.
  • Wisconsin is the fifth or sixth best team in its conference.

I’ve spent some time in Louisiana.  It’s a lovely place with lovely people – and whose main college football program has head coach who might be a father figure to some, but lost to an inferior football team to go right back on the hot seat.

The only people who are less aware of their surroundings than the LSU folks are the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.  That bunch has traveled from Earth to Neptune and back again already this season.  So, before everyone gets carried away, gushing over Jim Harbaugh’s firepower, can we please acknowledge that Michigan’s opponent didn’t know what hemisphere it was on?  Michigan’s season doesn’t start until October 29th – and they’re not playing Hawaii on that day.

What are we supposed to think of Stanford?  All Stanford ever does is win.  And when it wins, it usually goes on to win some more.  The Cardinal didn’t look like a title contender against Father Snyder on Saturday.  But, as is Stanford’s habit, they won and are going to be right in the mix all season long.  And if my team had Christian McCaffrey on the roster, I’d be bullish.

Is Texas back?  Maybe.  That victory wasn’t just electrifying – it was as huge of a win as Texas has had in a while.  Texas folks needed some spring in their step and now they have it.

We all know that Alabama is Alabama.  From time to time, football programs of all shapes, sizes, and pedigrees are humbled by the Tide.  But USC showed that it’s going to take some time.  Those that are anxious for the glitz and glimmer to return are going to need to either be very patient or join a 12-step program of some sort.

Speaking of Alabama – finally the pieces are in place.  The program has been missing something and it’s kept them from achieving true greatness.  They’ve been searching for the missing ingredient.  At long last, they have it.  Steve Sarkisian as a film analyst is going to finally get the long-suffering Crimson Tide over the hump.

The truth is that nobody should be surprised one bit over Houston’s victory over Oklahoma.  Phi Slamma Jamma is going to rock all season and they’re going to threaten to snatch one of those four spots.  Greg Ward, Jr is as exciting of a player as there is in the sport.  The Cougars are going to drive all of the big boys nuts because they are not losing a game on their schedule.

Three teams that are worth putting into a category that we can cleverly brand “We’ll Need To Keep An Eye On These Teams” are:

  • Good, solid win for Kirby Smart.  Nick Chubb.  Newly minted quarterback who appears to be ready to win.  Some good things going on here.  Plus, R.E.M. is from Athens.
  • We all know that Chris Peterson knows how to coach.  And Washington has been too middle-of-the-road relevant in the way that Purdue is relevant for too long.  Plus, they play right next to Lake Washington and that’s cool.
  • Louisville – Coach Petrino has his offense revving like a Harley Davidson. Might he be able to catch Florida State or Clemson napping?  Might he have a team good enough to beat both?  Plus, Rick Pitino leads his basketball program proudly in the KFC Yum! center.

Miss State – thank you.  You saved us from the traditional, ridiculous fawning over your team in late September/early October after a two-game winning streak that would eventually prove to mean nothing.  Good luck in the Egg Bowl.

Mississippi – thank you.  Your performance in the Camping World Kickoff not only relieved all of us of the traditional, ridiculous fawning over your team in late September/early October after a two-game winning streak that would eventually prove to mean nothing, it gave all of us a microcosm of your football program’s existence.  You looked like world-beaters for a spell.  Then, you went right back to being Mississippi.  Good luck in the Egg Bowl.

It seems like it happened about a month ago but Tennessee – the pre-season Flavor Of The Season – won it’s first game.  However, the general sense is, “Nothing to see here, move along, nothing to see here, folks…”  Butch Jones needs to get some things figured out for his upcoming game at a racecar track.  And he has Florida on the schedule in a few weeks.  All of the fun that was supposed to be taking place in Knoxville has been traded for white knuckles everywhere.

Where do we go from here?

  • Oklahoma – losing to Phi Slamma Jamma is nothing to be ashamed of. But the shimmery halo over Big Game Bob’s head is really losing its luster.  The Sooners’ were in the CFP just a handful of months ago.  You’d never know it right now.
  • Notre Dame – Brian Kelly’s two-headed monster at quarterback makes the Irish faithful pine for the consistency of Terry Andrysiak. After Nevada comes Michigan State….
  • USC – Can John Robinson be exhumed?
  • UCLA – With the game tied, moments after he dramatically tied the game, Josh Rosen stood on the field as the Bruins were about to make their triumphant game-winning drive and Rosen mockingly motioned to the crowd at Kyle Field to make more noise. Then he threw a pass directly to a Texas A&M defender.
  • Father Les and His congregation – What is Bill Arnsparger doing these days?
  • Paul Finebaum – Is Bret Bielema a father figure for the people of Arkansas?
  • Camping World Kickoff Marketers – that midfield logo looked like it was drawn up thirty minutes prior to kickoff of the Camping World Kickoff kickoff.

On deck –

Penn State at Pitt

James Franklin – this is sort of like when “Joanie Loves Chachi” was renewed for a second season.  “Happy Days” fans loved The Fonz, Richie, Potsie, and Ralph Malph.  And when Chachi and Joanie got their own show, there was some excitement – despite the muffled trepidation.  Eventually, the magic of The Fonz, Richie, and Co sort of dimmed and, sadly, Chachi and Joanie’s show was quietly canceled.  (Coach Franklin – you’re Chachi in this metaphor.)

Virginia Tech “at” Tennessee

Will there be a car race occurring during the actual football game?  Butch Jones – Finebaum thinks you’re a “championship coach.”  Okay.

Arkansas at TCU

The SEC Network’s production crew that is responsible for the reality television program “Being Bret Bielema” has requested that the Head Hog’s former Las Vegas waitress and current wife be allowed to be in all on-field huddles during this football game.  The SEC being the king of the sport fully expects this request to be granted.

BYU at Utah

Best, most fun, most raucous tailgate environment of the year.  Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone are the honorary marshals for the traditional parade through Provo that will take place early Saturday morning.