Atlanta. The home of Rich Homie Quan, whom you should check out, per Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.
Contrary to what you saw -- a baring of the teeth similar to a human smile and numerous avowals of satisfaction in making people happy -- Mark Dantonio had no fun beating Ohio State, because Mark Dantonio famously avoids fun at all times. He most definitely did not dance in the locker room. He also did not take great joy in voting his own Spartans at the No. 2 spot in the Coaches poll, ruining Ohio State's entire season, and snapping their 24-game win streak.
Nope. Disregard all false flags. Mark Dantonio has no emotions, and is doing nothing to complicate your view of him and Michigan State as dreary, run-first slamball from the barrens of the Mitten State. (That 300-yard passing game from Connor Cook? A typo. He passed for 35 yards, then ran the speed option 28 times for 38 yards, just as Michigan State Football Jesus intended.)
Briles. You can be told that Art Briles has also spent maybe four or five days outside the state of Texas EVER, is getting a new stadium built for his pleasure just across the Brazos River at Baylor, and is getting old enough to just want to stay in one place for once.
But sure, Redskins fans. Art Briles would love to uproot his whole family and work for an NFL franchise that has ruined everything it touches for more than a decade now, abandoning his life's work and stopping the upward swing of one of college football's most charismatic football programs. He craves a ceiling of 7-9 in the NFC East and weekly calls from the man who built Johnny Rockets. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Contra. Then again, let's play with that and really sucker you into the story. What better time to leave, than when you are hitting the end of your career and want not just to try something slightly different, but an entirely different galaxy of different?
Coaches aren't just about the money; they're about the challenge, and what could be more challenging than the NFL? More accurately, what could be more challenging than trying to win in the NFL under the careful, skilled management of Dan Snyder, the same virtuoso whose management has generated a losing record for the franchise since 1999 and the hatred of once-loving fans who now hope for improvement upon the sale of the franchise or Snyder's death?
See? That's already sounding plausible before we bring up the massive money he could use to secure his family forever and the joy of proving all those NFL meatheads and joyless Prisco-tarians wrong about spread offenses. It feels like a story you could believe if you wanted to, even though we just strung together some suppositions and cheap psychology together next to a few barely relevant facts.
Deceit. But that last part is not what you want to hear. That's why the Alphabetical this week will be nothing but lies about college football at the end of 2013 that someone wants desperately to believe. For instance:
Excellence is named Sarkisian. There is no way you are wrong in either way about Steve Sarkisian.
You are a USC fan. You are correct in every way. Washington was a heinous rebuilding job of a derelict program rotting from the floor to the rafters, and merely getting it on the high side of .500 was an achievement by itself. Coaches don't always need to go 10-2 to do a good job, at least as long as we're talking about your program. Just look at Mike Leach, bowl eligible in Pullman and solving USC's problems for them by beating Lane Kiffin in the Coliseum.
See, look, we have historical data points and everything. It's practically fact before we hit you with something like "Darrell Royal was fired from Mississippi State before he took the Texas job" and "even Nick Saban got fired once."
Failure is named Sarkisian. You are a Washington fan and would like to believe he underachieved in going 34-29 and never competing seriously for a Pac-12 title in tenure. Congratulations on selling high and on hiring a new head coach who doesn't appear to be some kind of preppy sasquatch in his Wikipedia photo.
You hired a coach who can't gameplan against life well enough to realize a stiff breeze will catch beneath that collar, lift him airborne, and carry him out over the cold, shark-infested Pacific Ocean. If he can't beat aerodynamics, what will he do against UCLA?
You know who does gameplan for everything? Chris Petersen, whom you just hired, a man so focused he doesn't even like talking to people not attached to him by football. Petersen is the Fed chairman of college football: reclusive, powerful, and speaking once a year for about 20 minutes before retreating back to his spreadsheets. He's the man you wanted, and he's the man you have, and it will all work out no matter what happens.
Gruden. Back to Saban, the next coach for Texas, the Washington Redskins, the Houston Texans (once Briles declines, of course,) and the Michigan Wolverines.
Why would he go? Well, you're not thinking like a proper fulfillment junkie, so start by answering this: why wouldn't he go? Why wouldn't he take the challenge of becoming the Phil Jackson of college football, hopping from well-positioned program to well-positioned program? Phil really is better at this than Nick is, mostly because Jackson stays for a while and cloaks any ambitions in amiable stoner Buddhism. But it is basically the same M.O., and ... see how convincing that is?
Just like Jon Gruden to the Volunteers or to Notre Dame or to wherever, it's possible. Couple it with some meandering speculation, and we got ourselves a veritable internet grease fire on our hands.
Heppin'. Also, at any point in a coaching search, you may mix in Houston Nutt's name. He's the reggaeton horn of coaching speculation: festive, strange, and always an attention-getter.
Independence. Missouri, the hometown of Harry Truman. "The buck stops here" was the man's motto, and that should be Gary Pinkel's since he was to blame for Missouri's disastrous SEC Championship game performance, and the bitter end to Mizzou's season. The Tigers won the SEC East in just their second year in conference, had a brilliant offensive game against Auburn, and had their closest shot at a national title game spot ever despite losing their starting quarterback for a long stretch of the 2013 season.
But is that really enough? Is that what you want to accept at Missouri, given your long record of previous successes and national titles? What national titles, you ask? Shut up, we're asking the questions here.
Oh my gawd look over there is that Nelly--
[/runs into Gary Pinkel's recruiting helicopter, takes off without answering question]
JD Clowney. This is also a lie you need to believe: you are ready for the post-bowl round of Draft slander and libel about to hit the players you held dear as a college football fan.
You are prepared to call him JD, not Jadeveon, because that his hard to say and requires some spelling. You are ready to hear about how a player is not as talented as one thought, or better still how he is a locker room cancer. You will understand that this is in the name of lowering their Draft position and salary and that this is something that happens every year. You will deny that any of it is true, even if you suspect it is.
Knowledge. What you'll drop on NFL-istas who need fake rumors about draft picks.
- Johnny Manziel's left arm is fake. The real one is in Mexico and will be given back to him when he pays someone the money he owes them. He knows who.
- That arm was his original throwing arm. He's just that good.
- Teddy Bridgewater is a 47-year-old French beekeeper named Guillaume de Crecy. Please don't tell anyone.
- Sammy Watkins only runs go routes, because his eyes are fixed in position like an owl's. He cannot turn without his whole head rotating.
- Marqise Lee's parents spelled his first name that way because they anticipated you asking that question, NFL Draftnik. The answer to "Why?" Because the only thing missing is "u," NFL team. He then winks, as he has been taught to do from birth.
Ligaments. It would have been nice to see Chuckie Keeton down the stretch in a desperate Utah State comeback attempt against Fresno State, but you don't get to see quarterbacks unmaimed and happy in 2013. This is not a lie: that would have been nice, and you didn't get to see it because every quarterback in 2013 was at one point injured badly.
Meniscus. But no, no, there's no coincidence between teams finishing the season and doing well and the injuries to their skill players.
Marcus Mariota was not hobbled down the stretch, Jeff Driskel's injury was not part of Florida's historic collapse this season, and Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson weren't both integral parts of Miami's game plans. Baylor losing Tevin Reese and two of their top running backs was not a part of their loss to Oklahoma State. On the opposite side of the argument, Florida State and Auburn received nothing like luck in keeping everyone healthy for the entire year, and randomness is not a part of football at all. Nope. Don't even consider it.
Narduzzi. Also disregard the 24-game winning streak that ended in the Big Ten Championship Game and concluded Urban Meyer's ripping start to a tenure at Ohio State. It is easy to win 24 games without losing -- yes, even in the Big Ten -- and you should be disproportionately mad that it finally happened to you. The opposing team definitely wasn't plotting this back in April. Their defensive coordinator is not brilliant and definitely will not be getting a job somewhere else this offseason.
Obviously. If your team won 10 games and did not win the national title, your season HAS BEEN A WASTE. You should not appreciate this at all. (CC: Clemson and Oklahoma fans, whom should not notice the streaks of 10-win seasons other fans most definitely would not steal your car in broad daylight to have.)
Purposefully. Teddy Bridgewater knew exactly what he was doing here.
Quipper. No, it's fine that Gary Danielson described a passing play that resulted in a touchdown for Mizzou as "cute," and that he continues to work in a psychotic fog when confronted with anything not resembling a 1988 NFL offense.
Rice. A hallucination, since the Owls did not win their first title since 1957. Their quarterback in 1957 was also definitely NOT named "King Hill," which would've made him the most Texan man of all time.
Sweep. As in "buck sweep," one of Gus Malzahn's easy-to-defeat, totally beatable high school run plays.
You just saw how simple that is, so don't worry Florida State. You've got this. There is no way you'll have any problem with the Auburn offense, because they are running the ball. Just look at Missouri, which knew Auburn was going to run the ball up the middle with Tre Mason. They limited him to just 304 yards on 46 carries! This is a high school offense, and with all 46 of your surefire NFL Draft picks waiting for the Tigers on defense, surely you'll do better.
(After all, Alabama only allowed 296 yards, and Clemson is basically the same school, but with a lake, right? BOOK YOUR TROPHY CEREMONY NOW.)
Walrus. Oh, that was not reviled offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, the godfather of Walrusball, leading the Michigan State Spartans into the Big Ten Championship against the team that fired him. He is very bad at his job, and this is all an accident.
X Japan. A heavy metal band from Chiba, a prefecture in the Greater Tokyo Area that was never, ever within striking distance of a college football bowl game hosted in Tokyo. That bowl game did not have a promo, and that promo did not have the badass synth classic "Firecracker" by Y.M.O. playing behind it.
This never happened, because no one would ever compromise the academic duties of a student-athlete by sending them on an international trip just to play football, ever.
Yarberry. Milt, the first town marshal of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the home of the season's first bowl game. Yarberry owned a stake in a brothel, slept with his friends' wives, drank to excess, killed a few people, and was eventually hanged by the hand of his best friend. In other words: Milt Yarberry would definitely NOT have been a fine head football coach, and Albuquerque obviously does not have college football in its blood. (P.S. He would have been a total failure in the SEC in particular.)
Zero. The number of points Stanford v. Michigan State won't have at the end of regulation in the Rose Bowl. This game will not be a perpetual grappling forever and will not be ended in a rare draw two days later when haggard coaches Shaw and Dantonio come to armistice terms at midfield.
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