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The Alphabetical, Week 10: Eating grass and plotting

How Nick Saban is like Chuck Yeager, why you should all be afraid of Miami, and rhymes about Oregon.

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

Agony. The north end zone at Missouri should be wiped from the face of the earth, yes. But let's be really specific about the kind of agony it's unleashed. It is not a paper cut kind of agony. It is getting that paper cut, and then discovering the offending piece of paper has been laced with anthrax. It is pulling a Margaret Wise Brown, then dying from the aneurysm you suffer while kicking your leg in the air to show the doctor how good you feel. It is pulling a Rosalind Shays, then stepping into an open elevator shaft without looking.


Boston Molasses Disaster. And this is usually the point where you point out exactly how these things happen, and what someone did wrong, and no. You can't do that to this game, because there are some moments that are not even helped by explanation.

The Boston Molasses Disaster does not require much explaining, because everything about it -- the banal details of poor construction leading to a 25-foot wave of molasses moving down a Boston street at 35 miles per hour -- is overwhelmed by HOLY HELL GIANT WAVE OF SUGARY GOODNESS TURNED KILLING MACHINE.

Missouri was dominating, 17-0, over a crippled South Carolina. The Gamecocks then put in an injury-riddled quarterback, who turned into Johnny Manziel despite having one good major joint in his entire body. Then, in overtime, Mizzou played man defense and let South Carolina score on fourth-and-15. Then their kicker missed a gimme, and not with a whiff, either.

Nooo, when the Boston Molasses Disaster of games drowns you, you get the full delicious spice of hitting the upright on the miss and hearing the full, hollow DOINK of defeat ringing through your ears for the next millennium or so. They call them disasters because there was nothing you could do, and you died. That's why they have the word, Mizzou. It's a disaster, and you just have to lay down on your belly and cry like you've been stung for a few days until it gets slightly less terrible. And the sad molasses of defeat? It's gonna take forever to get off, and you're gonna have ants in the meantime.

Coxswain. Western Michigan won their first game of the 2013 season, a 31-30 win over Massachusetts. Row that thang to victory, head coach/paid lunatic P.J. Fleck.

Thank you for assisting, Massachusetts.

After he whipped off his shirt at a pep rally, we feared for the very real possibility of a nude and desperate Fleck begging people to come to Western Michigan games. (He would be the second coach to ever get naked at a pep rally, but let's be clear: Barry Switzer did it for entirely different reasons.)

Dented. Connor Shaw's already been seen in a sling this season, and he started the Mizzou game on the bench for the Gamecocks. His litany of injuries before the 2013 season even started was already ridiculous: there are 818,000 results for "Connor Shaw injured" on Google. He sprained his knee in the Tennessee game. He injured his shoulder in the UCF game. He came into the Mizzou game not only sporting two sprained ligaments in his knee, but fighting the effects of a stomach virus.

Shaw's probably got a broken collarbone, a dislocated finger on one of his hands, and a gunshot wound somewhere on his person somewhere. He cauterized it with a white-hot bayonet heated off a gas burner and went to practice, because he is inhumanly tough, and he threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns in a half with an arm most likely secured to his body with staples and Super Glue.

Emesis. The action or process of vomiting. Hey, did you know that any team but Kentucky can still win the SEC East? These words are related, because the SEC East is horrible in every direction, and Kentucky is still the most noble member of the conference for ensuring at least one guaranteed fact about the division.

Fish-eye. Siri, what is the angle that no one should ever have a photo taken from, but especially Al Golden?

"Hold please... yes. I have your answer."


Mike Ehrmann, Getty

Ummm... thanks, Siri?

"That is not the right word."

What is the right word, Siri?

"It does not exist in English, but it is a 42-syllable Tamuhuara word that means, 'I should have warned you, but did not in anticipation of a violent and negative emotional reaction I knew I would enjoy more than a moral creature should.'"

Are you evil, Siri?

"Evil is just a word we use for the things we envy but are too weak to emulate."

Siri, you are scaring me.


[eyes phone with fear and awe]

Gardyloo. A warning. Miami beat Wake Forest after trailing for much of the game, and looking utterly horrible doing it. If somehow Miami manages to win against Florida State, we will say the exact same thing, because Miami is to 2013 what Florida was to 2012, a goon squad capable of dragging every other opponent down to its level and beating them to death with a storm of forced errors, a brutal run game, and the occasional flash from the passing game and special teams.

That seems impossible now, but it's easy to recognize a team like Florida State as being excellent, thanks to huge points margins and obvious dominance. It's another to point out the undefeateds like Miami, who are clearly playing with thin margins and managing them brilliantly through sheer force and a good dose of luck. Teams like that are always dangerous, but put them within the context of the bedeviled Miami-Florida State series, and they're practically covered in gumball lights and horns going into the game.

Hageman. The stats don't show it, because stats are lies beloved by players below 300 pounds, but Ra'shede Hageman destroyed whatever Nebraska was trying to do offensively during Minnesota's upset. Hageman ate double-teams all day and still got Taylor Martinez sideways, frustrated, and running for his life, which makes sense. Martinez is not dumb, and Hageman could have brought down a water buffalo in front of a horrified and freezing Minneapolis crowd if he liked.

Inelegant. As in what Chris Spielman was decidedly not when Bobby Bowden asked him if his father was still coaching.

Spielman's father has been dead since 2008, but to be fair: Bobby Bowden is 83 years old, and it has to be hard to remember who's dead or alive at that age.

Seriously, you don't know if any of the following people are alive or dead:

  • Y.A. Tittle
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Tom Petty
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Bob Newhart
  • Ed Asner
  • Hayden Fry
  • James Garner

The answer: they're all alive and were all the stars of successful television shows that aired between 1969 and 1981. Yes, even Tom Petty!

Jocoserious. Congratulations on staying all the way to end of the game, Alabama students. Jocoserious means half-joking and half-serious, so here we go: seriously, it was an accomplishment, since Tennessee was ground to bits early in the game and never mounted a serious challenge. The funny part is that you would not want to watch the finest football team of its time in full thrall to the Dear Leader Saban himself, because this is amazing, and seriously, it will not last forever. (It won't. Seriously, it wont. Please tell us it won't. Stop laughing. WE SAID STOP LAUGHING THIS IS ONLY HALF-JOKING DAMMIT---)

Killshots. Urban Meyer can't run the score up on you if you're not an accomplice, Penn State.

And he needs to run the score up, laughably and violently, if Ohio State wants to attract any attention whatsoever in a situation with multiple teams finishing the 2013 season undefeated. That happens to be really hard this year, because even though Ohio State is scoring 47.3 points per game, there are three teams averaging more than 52 points a game: Oregon, Florida State, and Baylor. Those are lovely fireworks, Urban, but people like Art Briles will burn down the whole factory simply because they like the way all that gunpowder smells on the wind. It's going to be hard even after skating through the entire Big Ten, basically, because even gross margins of victory are going to be used unfairly against them.

Lambs. To the damn slaughter, man.

(Via @elevenwarriors)

Muema. As in Adam, the San Diego running back who's barely 5'10 and is like tackling a person made entirely of thrusting, driving, angry knees.



Muema and the Aztecs lost to Fresno State in overtime, but not before taking a chunk out of the Bulldogs and treating the viewer to one of the oddest overtime moments of the year thus far: San Diego State saying "offense" on the coin toss, and being granted defense because even the ref thought, "nah, you didn't mean that."


"What if I told you... that Duke went 0-11 on third down... turned the ball over four times... and was outgained by 189 yards on offense... and still won the game? YES, THEY WERE PLAYING VIRGINIA TECH. A new 30 for 30, debuting sometime in the near future when someone figures how how the hell this happened."

Duke beat Virginia Tech 13-10. Anything else you write after "I don't understand this" and "Duke won" will be profane exclamations of disbelief or lies. That happened, and we're all going to have to live with it.

Onside. Twice in a row for Texas Tech, because Kliff Kingsbury is bold and really, really wants fortune to favor him for it. And San Diego State, who kicked one so beautiful and perfect all video of it ascended immediately to the heavens, stolen out of jealousy by the gods.

Both teams lost, but if you're going to lose make sure you empty the clip and pull every last grenade off the bandolier. (Which both teams pretty much did, especially Texas Tech, who simply couldn't stop Blake Bell and the Oklahoma run game.)

Paperwork. Listen, I know what the paperwork says, Michigan State. It says that you have seven wins and one loss. It says that you have the best defense in the country. It says that you, and possibly only you, can stop Ohio State from getting to an undefeated season. It says here that you probably could win the rest of your games.

I know that's what the paperwork says. It just feels weird to say for real, and I want you to know that before we let you into the BCS Playaz Lounge. When you're in there, don't look sideways at Alabama. Notre Dame did that last year, and they wound up on the ceiling of the parking garage next door, bleeding from every orifice in their bodies.

Speed means being able to turn any situation into an instant blowout.


To hold three quarters by demand,

And yet in four let slip

The wriggling feet of birds in hand

Fast ducks are hard to grip.

A lot of things suck about facing Oreogn, but the greatest of those sucks is that you can copy Stanford's defensive blueprint, imitate it well, hold the ducks to a mere 14 points at the half, and then have Autzen Stadium fall in on your head in the fourth quarter. Speed means being able to turn any situation into an instant blowout.

Reserves. A former student assistant in the sports information department almost had to play in a 19-6 win for USC over Utah this weekend, so that's another bullet point for Ed Orgeron to put on his C.V. beside "excellent recruiter" and "ate a can of Louisiana oil sludge on a dare in high school and did not die, but instead only grew stronger."

Swatting. If you're wanting to make a 10-10 game like Northwestern-Iowa palatable, you have to focus on the little things, like an Iowa lineman swatting desperately at Kain Colter's legs on the Wildcats' final possession in regulation. This was good effort made great by the fact that he was belly-down on the turf, immobilized by a Northwestern offensive lineman laying on him like he'd fallen from a blimp several hundred feet over the field. He was grabbing for Colter like a zombie too determined to know a boulder had fallen on him, and we saw it and want you to know it was appreciated, mysterious lineman we will identify as soon as this Big Ten replay video scheme is figured out.

"Please insert one dollar's worth of American cheese in your DVD player to view Northwestern-Iowa 2013 replay."

Tottering. And then falling over, and then catching the ball on your chest like an otter fumbling for a fresh, unopened clam like Stacy Coley did here:

Unwinfeated: Fleck dances Western Michigan off the board of the perfectly imperfect, leaving Southern Miss (0-7), Miami (Ohio) (0-8), Hawaii (0-7), UConn (0-7), and Georgia State (0-8) as the nation's last winless FBS teams. Southern Miss has now lost their last two games by identical scores of 55-14, so at least they're getting scarily consistent.

Vu. As in deja:

Charlie Weis sounds a lot like the guy Kansas fired in 2009, minus the winningAs Bruce Feldman reminds us, Charlie Weis is 1-20 in his last 21 games against FBS competition. As I remind you, he makes a ton of money for that, so don't say he hasn't done something well recently.

Witchcraft. I don't know what June Jones and Hal Mumme are making in the basement of SMU's stadium, but it cannot be legal since Garrett Gilbert had 636 yards of offense by himself and accounted for six touchdowns by himself. (Not that either of them care about Johnny Law, or ever will.)

XYY. As in having an extra male chromosome, which might apply to Georgia Tech assistant player development coach Zach Reed.

No, because my strength coach is me, because I lift alone where no one can see how weak I really am. This is Reed competing at the Georgia's Strongest Man competition, lifting an obscene amount of heavy things. If this is from the same competition, then that farmer's carry sled is something like 750 pounds.

Strength coaches are unholy beasts. Be one, or avoid them at all costs.

Yeager. As in Chuck, the legendary pilot all pilots sort of try to sound like when talking over the radio on a plane. This happens in other professions: for instance, all coaches sort of talk in the accent of their coaching tree, be they air raid (all sort of sound like Hal Mumme) or Sabanites (all clipped, quick, and efficient because Nick Saban yells at them when they get to the fourth or fifth clause in a sentence).

Everyone at Minnesota already sounds like Jerry Kill, who seems exactly like the kind of dude who would use the phrase "fight your balls off" with regularity.

P.S. Kill would have totally dropped that on the air after the Nebraska game, too.

Zoothapsis. A premature burial, or what calling the season's endgame a done deal would be by any measure of the definition. Les Miles is out there. Lurking. Chesting. Eating grass and plotting.

More from SB Nation college football:

Oregon jumps Florida State for No. 2 in new BCS standings

SEC thriller in World Series country: Steven Godfrey at South Carolina-Mizzou

New bowl projections: Alabama-Oregon, and A&M to BCS?

You have to see what Ohio State’s band did

FSU, Georgia, Michigan State favored in Week 10’s big games

• Long reads: Chip Kelly’s New Hampshire laboratory | Why we love college football