Well, hello again, Employee of the Month.
We don't gauge the health of Alabama by "points" or "touchdowns" or "attempting to do anything whatsoever on offense." As stated in Genesis 12:82:092, subsection gamma, "The earth hath given us abundance enough, and we shall live in defense of it, and probably treat offense as this ugly, if sometimes handy necessity. This verse is totally in the Bible so don't even bother looking it up."
A 49-0 scrimmage against UT-Chattanooga is not anything that would affect any other team's ranking. But that divine goose egg in the opponent's column is a different kind of signal that they're playing the Lord's football. They probably threw in a quick kick or two as tribute to the football god. Hallelujah, and please remember to hit the collection plate hard as it passes, because Pastor Saban doesn't work for free, and there are parishes in Texas that won't hesitate in their generosity to the church and its Dear Leader.*
*P.S. Just a reminder that some programs didn't fare as well against their FCS opponents on Sunday, even when those opponents didn't complete a single pass on the day. Pastor Muschamp's got a really weird idea of what church is, brother.**
**P.P.S. That dang church has waterfalls, honey. WATERFALLS.
2. Florida State
80-14 over Idaho, whom we can all but count as a FCS team at this point, but at the Seminole Free Baptist Church of the Fisher-man, let it be remembered that all are treated equally. They are brought into the spacious chapel and shown the stained-glass iconography of the church's founder, St. Bobby Bowden. They are then introduced to Pastor Jimbo, and Deacon Jameis, and pleasant words are exchanged; then they are held upside down by loving staffers, who shake loose the money from your pockets for 60 minutes and dare you to do something about it.
Thus far in 2013, no one has, and with most of the parishioners at Pastor Muschamp's refusing to pay another dime to watch him bang his head into the podium for an hour while screaming about damnation, it doesn't look like anyone will do anything to stop it.
3. Ohio State
Mass was held in inclement weather this week, and Indiana was mourned, 49-14.
A fine operation under Father Urban Meyer seems to be the third-best church in town, mostly by default. It's in a terrible neighborhood but still gets fine attendance, has a shocking amount of cash on the ledgers, and has filled the pews for two years straight without a hiccup.
They tend to be a bit touchy when you point out the lack of competition in their part of town, so don't mention it unless you want a really long and tired diatribe about how Pastor Saban overstuffs the chapel and has, like, a thousand "quality control" staffers working overtime to count the number of sprinkles on the donuts in the lobby.
No services this week, but Bishop Malzahn deserves a break. We're sorry: Gus. Just call him Gus, since The Chapel on the Plains doesn't really want you too into titles or liturgy or formalities. Yes, that's Gus up there with the electric guitar -- not tuned too loudly, for the little babies' sake -- singing about devotion and reminding all the faithful that just a year ago this church didn't even have a roof. And now look what love has done for us and for the church and for whatever sorcery Gus has worked turning one of the SEC's worst teams into a SEC and national title contender.
It may feel a little new wave to you, but that's just how Bishop Gus rolls. It helps that Gus conducts the fastest services in all of Christendom and has the parishioners out in 20 minutes or less guaranteed, or their donation is returned to them at the door. You might not like a church that times its prayers by the playclock, but Auburn fans are more than fine with it.
The greatest mismatch between a church and its pastor is found here: the youthful, vibrant parishioners of the CoMo Methodist Church, all led by a man who looks perpetually disappointed he chose to work with live people instead of dead ones. It's an odd match, but the full parking lots and thumping services don't lie.
Mizzou is right there waiting in the SEC East slot to face whatever comes out of the SEC West, so disparage Pastor Pinkel if you like. There's something in the funereal demeanor of the man that makes them beat a good Ole Miss team 24-10 on the road and keeps them humming along without key parishioners like James Franklin for sustained periods of time.
6. Michigan State
"It's only cold if you think it's cold. We've gotta come with some heat in our heart, and we'll be fine" -Mark Dantonio, terrible weatherman— Mark Mize (@markmizewriter) November 23, 2013
We guess some people really dig the austere, kneel-before-an-angry-God kind of church. You might not understand it, but all Father Dantonio does is stack people to the rafters, lay out a grim vision of a world of the damned and those who play the Lord's defense, and then rake in tithes and Big Ten wins.
It can be a grim sermon, if you're not prepared for it. See Father Dantonio's message during a 30-6 win over Northwestern:
Like we said, not a sunny view of the world, but one that evidently has its loyal adherents. (Father Dantonio also saves on costs by refusing to heat his church in the winter, because "the cold of winter leaves only the warmest thoughts in the toughest of hearts.")
7. Oklahoma State
Well, it's easy to forget about those frontier heartland megachurches, but when an oilman takes a shine to your way with the Word, he'll build you whatever you need to house the milling faithful.
What you might not notice in Pastor Gundy's sunny delivery? A mean, pounding dose of Old Testament vengeance, and some real Jacob-wrestling-the-angel kind of muscular football Jesus stuff. They were nice enough pregame, but once the polite discussion of the Word started with the Honorable Pastor Briles, it got mean, and it got mean quick, and Pastor Briles was left speechless and fumbling by the end of a 49-17 Oklahoma State victory. You might have forgotten about them, sure -- but the Lord so often cloaks his kings in the robes of simple herdsmen like that.