Annulus. A geometrical term for "a little ring," or what Johnny Manziel ran around the Arkansas defense this past weekend.
With 10 minutes and 33 seconds on the clock in the fourth, Manziel dropped back to pass, up 44-10. Why? Kevin Sumlin says there's time on the clock, son, and that means you're playing football, and Kevin Sumlin football is passing with a 34-point lead in the fourth.
Manziel bounces right and finds the rarest of animals: the Arkansas pass rush. He hits B, reports his findings to the World Wildlife Fund, and then spins away from pressure. He is now facing backward, a position most quarterbacks agree is very, very bad to be in on a football field.
The defender has a great angle on Manziel here. The play really should be over here, but between this obvious killpoint and the next slide...
...Manziel's Pam-soaked body slips through the defender's fingers. Manziel turns his own teammates into spectators a lot, but it's an even-handed effect. Arkansas defenders are sitting around watching him, too.
The two defenders with reasonable angles on him can't. Can't what? They just can't, that's all: he's too fast, or they're just broken from the soul outward by Arkansas football. There's just tons of can't all over that image for Arkansas, and Johnny Manziel running a shallow crossing route all by himself to the endzone.
Bass clef: roughly the shape of Manziel's run there, a swooping curlicue across the field. Things instantly granted here: that Arkansas is to good football what cholera is to diets, and that the time someone should be able to rip off a bass clef-shaped run across the width of the field at the goal line is in the fourth quarter with ten minutes to go while sitting on a thirty-four point lead. Manziel still got 453 yards passing, 104 on the ground, and four TDs in a college football game played at the FBS level. (Now to get him a GPS showing the shortest distance between the pocket and the endzone before he gets decapitated by LSU or Alabama's defenders.)
Comity. Legally speaking, the concept of reciprocity, or why it's okay to boggle at Baylor-WVU's pointsplosion or Johnny Manziel's Razorback-enabled stat line. If you are going to sit in awe of Alabama's recently clipped string of shutouts, or marvel at the defensive prowess of TCU, then it's only fair to pay respects to the constructive half of the football coin.
Lane Kiffin certainly does:
"I don’t know how you do that," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "It’s just amazing. … It’s hard to do that on air vs. the (scout) team."
45 of 51 for 656 yards and 8 TDs is insane. So is a rabid cat lurking in the bushes, and you pay a healthy respect to that, too, right? (There is no animal control unit big enough in the world to capture West Virginia's offense. Apologies.)
De facto. Literally "in reality," the way Floyd of Rosedale should be: a real, strutting pig on the hoof like he used to be. The iron pig is a fine touch, but what could exceed the grandeur of a real swine trotting out to be exchanged from one team to the other each year in the Minnesota-Iowa game?
You don't have to eat him, but you should at least have the theoretical option of doing so. Iowa reclaimed the sad metal substitute this past weekend by winning against Minnesota, and thus left Northwestern as the only undefeated team in the Big Ten. Related: Floyd was named after the losing governor in the original wager, and died of cholera. Both conditions make him history's "Most 1938 Pig."
Ethanol. A clean burning alcohol just like beer, the propellant of choice in Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown. High-scoring football can be stressful, but no economist is born without two hands. One hand shows you the downside, but on the other hand, Oliver Luck is happy to point out the positives.
He even joked at the halftime of the then 35-35 game that there was a hidden positive to this wild contest: "This'll be great for beer sales in the second half -- for our fans dealing with stress."
West Virginia collects donations to the athletic department's budget one frosty glass of fourth quarter fuel at a time. Why your athletic department isn't doing this is what prevents you from ever making a joke about coal-stained hillbillies ever again. They're the ones who hired Dana Holgorsen and get you to drink for their profit.
Fluctuation. One very possible reason for the sudden explosion of points, particularly in the historically stingy SEC. Randomness is rarely evenly distributed, and there is little more random than quarterback success at the college level for top recruits.
Take the offensive anemia of the 2010 SEC as an example. Remove the supernova year of Cam Newton and NFL draftbait Ryan Mallett, and the starting quarterbacks roster is a sad list of pulverized or misplaced youth: Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray in their first year, Stephen Garcia, John Brantley, Chris Relf, Jordan Jefferson, Jeremiah Masoli, Greg McElroy, and Larry Smith. It is not the most inspiring list in spots, and in others is spectacularly inexperienced.
Growed-up. A casual way of saying mature, something Bray and Murray have each become in their own unique ways. (More on that in a second! Particularly Bray's entertaining schizophrenia!) Connor Shaw, Jeff Driskel, Zach Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron, Bo Wallace, and Tyler Russell are all arguable upgrades from the 2010 models. (We'll leave out the two historical bottom-dwellers, Vandy and Kentucky, because Jordan Rodgers is inconclusive, and because Kentucky's about to pull the redshirt off a top recruit and is still Kentucky.)
Half-life. The decay of a program isn't necessarily tied to the quarterback, but it can be tied disproportionately to the value of QB. Alabama switches out parts like a Toyota Hilux and keeps rolling, but the two teams not mentioned in the list above--Arkansas and Auburn--are both at the bottom of the league without their 2010 starters. Cam Newton's void was understandably huge, but Arkansas may have achieved a new low in taking a quality replacement--Tyler Wilson--and turning him into a concussed afterthought in the SEC's quarterback rankings.
Instruction to all employees: John L. Smith has amazing chemical properties, and should be handled only in Level 5 labs with very long tongs. All employees who have come into contact with John L. Smith should report for indefinite quarantine.
Just in case you forgot: John L. Smith employed Bobby Petrino as an assistant at three stops, including his stint at Louisville where Petrino was replaced by Scott Linehan. Linehan would go on to give Urban Meyer much of the passing game built into his version of the spread offense, the same passing game whose collapse in 2009-2010 heralded the end of the Urban Meyer era. Petrino would leave Louisville to Steve Kragthorpe, and then destroy the Atlanta Falcons and Arkansas Razorbacks in succession. Meanwhile, Linehan won just 11 games in his tenure as Rams head coach before being fired. John L. Smith, after driving Michigan State into the ground, would then leave Weber State in the lurch before taking the interim Arkansas job. That's been great so far.
Krioboly Is this science? No, not at all, particularly the part about Linehan's passing and Urban Meyer's offense. Would we still demand an exorcism, or at the very least animal sacrifice (see: "krioboly," the sacrifice of rams) before hiring any of them? Yes. If we're holding the checkbook, the Curse of John L. Smith is real, and his coaching tree looks more and more like a lightning strike you willing guide down with a golf club held firmly in hand.
Languorous. Joe Rogan says you have to work on that ground game, J.T. Walsh.
Not even close to ground-and-pound, son. You get top position, hook the legs, and then you finish that fight. No, we don't care if he's a harmless trainer from the Texas staff. No, we don't care if you brought the octagon to him. You finish the drill, and if Bas Rutten ever sees you go with the weak belly slap again he is going to punish you with mat drills.
Muddy. Oddly enough, the Texas radio crew I was listening to on the way back from Athens on Saturday barely mentioned a possible fumble at the goal line on the game-winning TD for the Longhorns, but that's why you pay 'em, Texas.
Notional. "Existing only in theory," much like the idea of Tennessee football, which thus far has served as a game victim for Georgia and Florida. Theoretical quarterback Tyler Bray is very much real, and in all the best and worst senses of the word. He really does lean wayyyyy back before throwing more than 20 yards down the field, charging himself up like an animated Pokemon seconds away from firing lightning bolts out of his ass. He really does avoid pressure by walking--not running--backward, and then throws real line drives 30 yards. He then really watches his receivers drop those passes.
Orphaned. At the end of this all, Tyler Bray will come just short because he will throw a pick under pressure, or fumble, or do the things a quarterback does without a consistent running game or a defense that can stop the run. He and his coach make an appropriate pair: abandoned without help by much of his coaching staff in the offseason, Derek Dooley had to scramble and try to make things happen. Thus far, the results seem similar for both: near-misses and crippling mistakes made under pressure.
Pussycat Dolls. One of the top-selling musical acts of 2005, the last year Jeff Tedford had a quarterback taken in the NFL Draft. Zach Maynard, current Cal QB, averaged 4.5 yards per completion on Saturday, or just 4.5 more than any member of the burlesque troupe/pop group.
Nope. Clearly fine to come back in the game, Mark Dantonio. NEXT QUESTION.
Riviation. Fishing, which you may be doing with luck if you're looking for interesting football on a Friday night because PItt, after a horrendous start, may not suck. They play Syracuse, whose quarterback Ryan Nassib is still the nation's fifth-ranked passer and commandeers a legitimately entertaining offense playing in the still, pass-friendly atmosphere of the Carrier Dome. Also, because Tombstone will be on at the same time on AMC, I'm going to have to ask you to watch this game and tell me how it goes, because in my heart there is the rest of the world second, and a tubercular Val Kilmer drinking heavily and shooting people first.
Spendthrift. A cinematic aside, please. You know a movie is just toying with you when they put Bill Paxton in a bit part, give Powers Boothe a ridiculous Pancho Villa mustache, and have a disclaimer that "all lightning and mustaches are real." If you found out that Meryl Streep played "slaughtered cowboy No. 4" in ten years, you would have no reason to be shocked whatsoever.
Threadlike. The current resume of Texas Tech, scheduled to play Oklahoma this weekend. Currently number one in the nation in defense, the Red Raiders have played only one conference opponent in Iowa State. They have two real advantages against Oklahoma: a.) it's in Lubbock, where the veil between our world and the next is thin and very permeable, and b.) because "Tommy Tuberville Team Out Of Nowhere" is a real and terrifying thing. (See Oklahoma's loss in Normal last year as the latest piece of evidence supporting this phenomenon's existence.)
Under. Bet it for the UCF-East Carolina game this weekend, because UCF specializes in slowing down spread teams looking to run things at hyperspeed. Jittery Mizzou only got off 59 plays against UCF in their ugly win against the Knights last weekend. In comparison, West Virginia nearly had that many passing plays alone against Baylor.
Venialia. A mild sin, like comparing anything to West Virginia's offense, much less the sluggoid football of a UCF George O'Leary team. (It wins. It's also a narcoleptic tortoise compared to Dana Holgorsen's raging mongoose of an offense.)
Woody, With Notes Of Pesticide And Gumby's Pizza. A description of the grass at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and its unique taste. Few teams bring out the grass-munching maniac more than Florida, a team on the butt end of 2007's hot streak of 4th down conversions, 2010's bounce-pass fake field goal, and 2011's fake punt TD where punter Brad Wing was flagged for celebration. Remember, Les: a win in the Swamp comes with free Pokey Stix, something that might explain the mad wagering you do against the Gators. (They are quite delicious.)
Xinjiang Flying Tigers. The former Chinese team of U of Cincinnati's own Kenyon Martin, who has to be pleased with the performance of the Big East's clear frontrunner so far. What did Kenyon Martin do in China's Montana for fun? This is a sincere question, because seriously, there is NOTHING in Xinjiang.
Zoolatry. The worship of animals. You might think this is something humanity has advanced past, and then you see Bevo and realize how very wrong that idea is.
Get him a beer. It's part of your religion.
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