2017 Crowley Sullivan’s Thoughts & Prayers
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 as EVP, Planning/GM, Sports for MandtVR, a content creation platform that emphasizes Virtual Reality initiatives.
Bother Crowley at @CrowleySullivan
Thoughts & Prayers – Week 5
AN APOLOGY, A SIMPLE MISUNDERSTANDING, AND OLD PAL BRET BIELEMA
A week ago in this space, this scribe penned the following:
“I’m not saying that Louisville is a fraudulent lemon.
All I’m saying is that Louisville can stand tall and proud in the way a tapeworm does.”
A week later, I must issue an apology.
To all tapeworms – please accept my sincerest apologies for having lumped you in with anything associated with the University of Louisville.
You didn’t deserve that and I will work to show that I have more respect for you and your species than my glib cheap shot indicated.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Alabama is very good at football.
In their battle against Vanderbilt, Alabama recorded 38 first downs.
Vanderbilt recorded three.
Aren’t first downs sort of like filling out your name when you take the SAT examination? Don’t teams accidentally flop their way to an elementary number of first downs over the course of a game?
Vanderbilt managed three first downs.
I didn’t watch one moment of this football game – and I have zero intention of watching any of it in review.
Did the Alabama players take a knee (during play) three times?
Does Vanderbilt even have eleven scholarship and walk-on players on its roster?
The number of people Frank Sinatra killed is probably greater than the amount of first downs Vanderbilt recorded in this football game.
The number of people who actually think that the motion picture Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise, made any sense whatsoever is likely to be equal to the amount of first downs that Vanderbilt recorded in this football game.
I’m not sure but it’s possible that if we combine the number of wars that Italy and France have won over each of their histories, that number would be more than the number of first downs that Vanderbilt recorded against Alabama.
Vanderbilt really needs to work on their ability to register first downs between now and the end of this season.
I WON’T GIVE UP (I WON’T EVER GIVE UP) – BUT SHOW ME SOMETHING….
There was a fair amount of love for North Carolina State heading into this season.
The Wolfpack came up short in their opener against Boom Muschamp but they just took a big step towards earning back that preseason love.
Going into Tallahassee and coming away with a win is a legitimate way to earn some love.
We’ll all agree to look past the fact that Florida State is playing out the schedule in the hopes of earning the first pick in next Spring’s College Football Draft to be held at Radio City Music Hall.
But back to NC State.
Maybe it’s because I’m an old school sort of fellow – but, for North Carolina State to earn my love, they need to do something other than win a game here and there.
NC State has won some games here and there over the years.
Do something that makes me think you’re better than the fourth most relevant football program in the state of North Carolina and I’ll start to pay attention.
And, I know I’ll get struck by lightning for even thinking this, let alone writing it, but Jim Valvano was a crook.
We all know it. But nobody wants to come right out and say it.
Yes, never give up, etc. I got it.
But if Whateverhisnameis that was the head football coach at SMU many years ago starts a whole thing about needing to fight against all odds due to his having been diagnosed with Syringomyelia someday, I’ll nod my head and hope he has a peaceful battle and I’ll consider contributing to the cause because I don’t like it when people get sick and die.
But I’ll also be thinking to myself, “If you weren’t a crook and a liar and a scoundrel, I might donate more than five dollars to your Syringomyelia cause.”
GEORGIA STARTING TO BE ON PERSONS’ MINDS
Nobody actually believed that Mississippi State was anything other than Mississippi State, did they?
Still, with the thrashing of the Cowbell People, Kirby Smart might be doing all he can to convince me that he just might be the future king.
Georgia’s win at Notre Dame looks a little shinier than it did a couple of weeks ago, too.
Since the SEC is back to its longstanding spot as a conference that includes Alabama and a bunch of other schools that aspire to be able to record more than three first downs against Alabama, are SEC fans that chant “SEC! SEC! SEC!” secretly hoping for an undefeated Georgia against Alabama in what would be the most-hyped SEC Championship Game in history?
IRISH MINDS ARE SOMEWHAT CONFLICTED
Defeating Michigan State as it continues to reapply the training wheels to its apparatus isn’t going to make anyone think that Notre Dame deserves Team of the Decade status just yet.
But, the throttling of the Spartans makes me stroke my chin and contemplate the possibility that Notre Dame is among the finer teams in the nation.
That was a flawless performance by the Irish.
And now Notre Damers are faced with a conundrum –
They have a team that may be in a position to get back to the College Football Playoff.
Their sort-of-in-conference games against their sort-of-ACC rivals (particularly their sort-of-rivals from the Coastal) gives them some cover and the home dates with Troy and Silicon Valley look winnable.
We must brace ourselves for the possibility of an 11-1 Notre Dame team earning its way into the CFP, people.
And that means that Notre Damers who aren’t particularly fond of their head coach (which, according to a Frank Luntz-held focus group and polling initiative includes 98.7% of all ND fans) are going to have to deal with him for another six or nine years.
MY GUESS IS THAT THIS IS ALL JUST A SIMPLE MISUNDERSTANDING
Coach Pitino cares about the kids.
He tries to better people’s lives.
He loves his mother.
Is winning some basketball games and earning a few dollars along the way a nice perk that goes along with his vocation?
But it’s always been about the kids for Coach Pitino.
Chris Petersen’s Huskies are quietly, methodically, and undeniably picking up right where they left off last season.
All of the attention is on the Men of Troy and their glamour and glory – and that’s just the way Petersen likes it.
And while the elitist Pac-12ers like to think that UDub is sort of an outlier, they all wake up in the middle of the night, sweating after having dreams about this –
BEING LONG ON ROCKY
At what point do we acknowledge that Rocky Long is among the great football coaches in the nation?
This guy wins.
He beats the teams that appear on his team’s schedule.
This season, he’s beaten Stanford (genuflect upon reading “STANFORD” in a show of respect to the institution’s leaders and innovators), Arizona State, and a tricky Air Force squad.
He wins championships.
Rocky and his San Diego State Aztecs are on a realistic path to their third straight Mountain West Championship and a possible New Year’s Six bust-up.
Guys that go into the Shangri Las of the sport in Ann Arbor and Tuscaloosa and Tallahassee and Athens and Columbus get the praise and glory for, basically, putting the keys into the ignition and driving properly.
Rocky Long goes to San Diego State and creates a juggernaut of a program that does literally everything it’s supposed to do.
Give me Rocky Long every day.
He doesn’t even whine and complain about the conditions of the visiting team’s locker room.
He just works hard, coaches, and wins.
And when I’ve spoken with Rocky, I’ve discovered that there are football coaches who would, indeed, be able to earn a living if they had to do something that didn’t include walking around all day with a whistle around their neck.
I SEE U AND I MIGHT BE STARTING TO LIKE U
Mark Richt is only 2-0 due all of the horrible weather challenges everyone down there has had to deal with.
So, it’s hard to judge the Canes right now.
But it sort of appears as though I don’t want to or need to suggest that the FBI station agents near the Miami football machine to monitor its activity (that is, if there are any available since all regional Bureau agents are currently in Coach Pitino’s driveway).
And before someone out there tries to say that I’m a Deplorable or that I’m someone who likes to walk around with a tiki torch, my perspective is based on some straightforward facts (backed up by the TWO brilliant “30 For 30” films on The U) that show that lots and lots of football players who have played at The U have gotten into lots and lots of various kinds of “trouble” over the years.
It’s not a controversial position.
WAKE FOREST FOOTBALL
The Demon Deacons are 4-0.
The number of people that care about this is less than the number of first downs Vanderbilt recorded against Alabama.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BRET BIELEMA
Have any of you looked at this man recently?
I mean, have any of you taken a really good look at Bret Bielema?
For Arkansas fans wondering why the Hogs haven’t really kicked things into high gear since Bret Bielema took over as Boss Hog, the answer is simple:
Bret Bielema obviously spends every waking moment eating food.
He’s not coaching his football players or developing game plans or recruiting high school football players.
He’s eating food.
And he’s obviously eating lots and lots and lots of food.
All the time.
And the food is obviously the kind of food that makes people really, really fat.
It’s not like he’s eating plates of lettuce or bowls of radishes either.
Bret Bielema is eating banana splits and tall stacks of hotcakes along with beef burritos and very thick pastry crepes for breakfast; gigantic meatball subs smothered in pesto and alfredo sauce for his mid-morning snack; a humongous slab of very fatty ribs along with a pretty large portion of Welsh rarebit for a late morning pre-lunch tide-me-over thing; an emptied out whiskey barrel full of cornmeal and a standard-sized picnic table that’s been covered with a few hams and seven or eight very large beach pails filled with chocolate milkshakes for lunch; a garbage can filled with tapioca pudding for an early afternoon bite; a sleeping bag filled with whipped cream and caramel squares for a mid-afternoon sweet treat to keep the energy up; some (like, eleven or twelve) traditional outdoor-grill-prepared cheeseburgers for a pre-dinner teaser; a suitcase full of various cheese blocks and a baby’s playpen filled with lobster tails and almost-completely-raw chunks of cow beef for dinner followed by wheel barrows full of unwrapped candy bars and warm cookies for a dessert treat followed up by a potato sack filled with twice-baked potatoes covered in sour cream and large blocks of butter for a mid-evening second dinner, followed by a cooking pot usually reserved for preparing a humongous pasta dinner filled instead with Cookie Crisp cereal for a later-evening pick-me-up; all to be topped off with six French Silk pies from Baker’s Square.