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The Alphabetical, Week 11: We're going to live with Uncle Ed

We're also doing what we can to challenge Alabama, imagining Bill Snyder's go-to postgame celebration dance, and losing yardage behind Michigan's offensive line.

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Abrahams. As in Harold, a legendary distance runner and one of the main characters of Chariots of Fire. You can set almost anything to the film's theme and make it seem majestic, but once something is already disturbing, not even the majestic strains of Vangelis will salvage it.

We speak of a smiling, jubilant Lord of Darkness, Nick Saban.

It's like seeing your Dad smile over something that doesn't involve someone's misery, good landscaping, or a well-cooked hamburger. It's unnatural to the point of almost upsetting your whole worldview. (Almost: Alabama did beat LSU, and thus kept one of life's few constants unshattered.)

Boredom. Let's push the issue of boredom with Alabama a bit. Because the first place people go when talking about the possibility of this team winning its third title in a row is how monotonous this can get for someone who is not an Alabama fan.

Consider how good each part fits with the next and that Alabama can seemlessly switch blocking schemes to accommodate different types of runners. Stand in awe of their ability to function offensively for long stretches this season without a fully functional Amari Cooper and their consistency at quarterback under AJ McCarron. Bow to C.J. Mosley not for his physical prowess -- that's kind of a given with Alabama at this point -- but for his ability to teleport to wherever the ball is going on any given play. Consider the technique at every position, coached to a fine sheen, and so seamless that only supernatural talents like Johnny Manziel can upset the craftsmanship and force anything like a remotely competitive game.

Contra. The counterpoint is that I turned off the game at the start of the fourth quarter because I know what happens when Alabama figures you out: they break your quarterback, flatten your defensive line, and then run roughshod over you with one of their five-deep tramplebacks until the clock expires. Until they were recently threatened with the revocation of their block seating, even Alabama students had a hard time sticking around until the end.

You don't have a reason to, Alabama fan. You can comfortably revert to the status of lay Catholic college football fan. Economize your life by attending one game at football Easter (the LSU or Texas A&M game for Alabama) and then the SEC title game, the last real challenge before the erasure of some other team from a conference without a bumper crop of 300-pound men who can do backflips.

Dial-a-play Better still, let's have Alabama take requests, Jon Bois-style, and start amusing us by playing with specific schemes and playcalls just to see if they can do it.

  • Have them run the wishbone for an entire game with McCarron at fullback.
  • Run a solid quarter out of the fake punt formation, with Mosley passing and running the ball.
  • Attempt free kicks at every opportunity possible.
  • Finish a game out of the run 'n' shoot with the punter at quarterback.
  • Install the A-11 at halftime and dare SEC officials to call it an illegal formation.
  • Do whatever that Princeton Three-QB Wing T is ... with the defense playing offense.
  • Consider running Statue of Liberty as a base play.
  • Use a Nerf Mega Vortex Howler football.
  • Imagine that someone had been red-carded and play with 10 men on defense.
  • Take knees starting in the mid-second quarter, just to see what happens (nothing).
  • Have Nick Saban hold and idly spin a sign for a local tax preparation service.
  • False start and sprint offside on every play.
  • Lateral the ball on EVERY PLAY.
  • Replace football with one-pood-weight kettlebell.
  • Replace Gatorade with buttermilk on a hot day.
  • Have T.J. Yeldon play an equal number of snaps for both teams.

Enormity. A savant, as in Myles Jack, the UCLA linebacker who was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week with six carries for 120 yards and a 66-yard touchdown. Jack also recovered a fumble in the end zone and had eight tackles, earning him the inaugural Private James Ramirez Award for Doing Everything.

Fixed. Should you be the overly patient type who insists you need three years to fix a major program: Guz Malzahn not only has Auburn at 9-1 and ranked No. 7 in his first year as a head coach, he also took the 80th-ranked rushing attack from 2012 and has it at third in the nation. The Tigers ran for 444 yards against Tennessee and threw the ball just seven times, and somewhere in a hot tub sits Barry Switzer, feeling strange sensations he hasn't felt in years without the assistance of prescription medication.


It was nice of Dade County Bane to wear a necktie, even for a Miami team without Duke Johnson or the capacity to beat a Virginia Tech team previously incapable of piling up even the legal drinking age on the scoreboard. Against Miami, the Hokies had over 500 yards of offense and 42 points, because Frank Beamer really is half-bear. He eats his points in binges like a grizzly trashing someone's well-stocked hunting cabin.

Hoke-a-mania. As bad as Michigan is right now, let it never be said that the effort on handoffs by Devin Gardner isn't, to use a very Brady Hoke word, tremendous.


In theory, you have to eat something to survive. You have to run the ball to be successful in football. What Michigan is doing right now is saying, "I have to eat something," and then chowing down on the rocks and inedible garbage surrounding them because, durr, "gotta eat some foods."

"I Feel Fine." The first rock record to use feedback, the cause of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman's odd, stilted speech at halftime of the Wolverines' game against Nebraska. That is a perfectly acceptable reason, though the effect is one dangerously close to the sound of a person eight shots deep and sinking.

We are now talking about whether a college administrator was drunk or not at a football game because in 2013 this is preferable to talking about what happens at Michigan football games, where the drunkest thing there hasn't been drinking at all. It is the Michigan rushing attack. For the second straight game, they finished with negative yards rushing, though they did improve from -48 yards against Michigan State to a robust -21 yards against Nebraska. At this rate they should be above freezing and/or par in no time at all.

Juxtaposition. Wyoming had more than 200 yards rushing against that same Nebraska defense. In fact, five teams have run for 200 yards on the Nebraska defense this year, with Illinois barely putting up 195. Purdue ran for 37 yards and still outrushed Michigan on Saturday. Gardner will be a toddling bag of human fragments molded into shape by braces, athletic undergarments, and supportive pads by the end of the season, and the Wolverines ground anemia is the reason.

Killing. It's multiply entendre'd here, since it refers to Minnesota's four-game win streak, their eight wins total, a horrific pun on the coach's name, and the mash-out design of the team. If Stanford is the team where everyone is secretly a tight end waiting to happen, then Minnesota is now precisely what Minnesota should be: a herd of fullbacks at every position running heavily in a kind of organized tactical stampede. The Gophers' Ra'Shede Hageman is the clever exception, since he is actually two fullbacks playing inside a giant robot constructed to look like a human.

Lindy Hop. The dance Bill Snyder does in the locker room to celebrate, perhaps while thinking of what he'll write to a toddler like Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech after politely dismissing the Red Raiders by a score of CODGER SWAG to COWBOY BEATNIK. "Beatniks are what they call them these days, yes?" he thinks, jigging happily into his office as he hands out Werther's butterscotches to his players.


NERRRRRRRRRRDS. The animosity of one commentator to another is so ESPN's thing at this point, and is as contrived as hell, but I mean this: I think the entire cast of GameDay is seconds away from pummeling Paul Finebaum into a pile of hot-take-spewing human peanut brittle.

That is real animosity, and not the amusing kind. They clearly resent having him on set, and it shows with genuine discomfort. Whether PAWWWLLLLL's good on television or not is almost beyond the point, since whatever he does clearly grates and discombobulates the normal flow of the show. A talking football puppet would be less disruptive, decidedly cheaper, and also more welcome.

Opelika. Hell, just have Tammy from Finebaum's show on and watch how much better it works. (Because it would.) You'd think it would be David Pollack who swings first, but you're wrong. It's Desmond Howard, with the candlestick, in the GameDay bus, and we never, ever talk about it again after it happens.

"Peace out." How Paul Chryst ended his postgame press conference, which seems like a very un-Paul Chryst thing to say, but then again he also did this in the locker room after beating Notre Dame.


I know what you're thinking: THAT'S AN INCREDIBLE FRUIT PLATE FOR PITTSBURGH. And yes, it really is. (Would be better, and definitely more Pittsburgh, if covered in french fries.)

Quisquilious. Made of trash. Hey, Purdue got into the red zone for the first time in a calendar month, then scored! These words are placed next to each other for a reason!

Rickets. The throwback WVU helmets might have befuddled anyone who has not seen the classic Simpsons episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns," but the explanation is simple. The logo dates back to the Robert C. Byrd Sunshield, a giant "protective" canopy over most of West Virginia designed to raise tax revenue.


The Byrd Sunshield was rejected on the basis of cost, and the several billion dollars of projected revenue were made up in part by the approval of beer sales inside West Virginia's football stadium.

Smackover. One of the burlier names for a town in Arkansas, a state already capable of making any male resident grow additional chest hair and develop the ability to start roaring campfires with his mind. Doubt this, and then look at what the state has done to formerly clean-cut Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin.

Three and one in the Sun Belt so far in 2013, and no, no, you cannot shave that mustache, coach. That and the tree stand in the endzone in Jonesboro are your talismans. They cannot be destroyed without disturbing the balance of good humors surrounding Arkansas State football right now. (Add a Dollar General in the stadium and BECOME GODS, RED WOLVES.)

Tillerswag. Joe Tiller made a cameo in the booth for the Fresno State-Wyoming game. He confirmed his status as the King of Old Dudes by revealing that a.) he liked trucks and owned three of them and b.) that he and Jack Elway used to drink brown liquor and talk about football. Then a football player nearly ran into a horse, and we're all glad we stayed up to watch a blowout in Laramie late on a fall Saturday evening.

Uncle Ed. The kids have forgotten long-departed Dad and have now decided Uncle Ed is their new daddy at USC. The phrase "Ed Orgeron, actual head coach" could still happen at USC, or at least happen somewhere else when the very real and very good job Orgeron has done in spot duty is noticed elsewhere. His secret appears to be good catering, but whose isn't?

USC plays Stanford this week and could complete a long circle of ruin in the Pac-12 thanks to an inspired run of junk-food fueled football. Dirty Eating: The Ed Orgeron Success Diet will arrive in stores early in 2014. (Ghostwritten by Mark Schlabach, of course.)

Vetanda. Forbidden things, like putting Louisville over UCF in polls, as the Coaches Poll does despite a head-to-head win by the Knights over the Cardinals. The first explanation for this is ignorance, a legitimate gripe since coaches and their staffs happen to be very busy during the fall. The second is that no one likes George O'Leary, a legitimate gripe because "George O'Leary."

Wobble. Jerry Kill can dance, too.


Xerarch. Growing in dry places, as in the Arizona State football program, still at 7-2 and poised to get a slot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Their last three games are winnable -- Oregon State, at UCLA, and then at home for Arizona -- putting them within striking distance of a 10-win season, a Pac-12 title, and the Rose Bowl.

You have now found a scenario where one can root for Todd Graham: in a bowl game against a Big Ten team, so that one could take a picture of a smiling Todd Graham holding the trophy, then mail it to virtuemonger Jim Delany.

Yabbadabbadoo. Jibberishy phrase Art Briles likes to fire out when coaching his players against anyone, perhaps more than usual against Texas Tech this coming weekend. The Red Raiders can't defend, but they can score, and should at least keep the cardio up for Baylor prior to a November 23rd matchup in Stillwater with Oklahoma State.

Zakuska. A snack, like the surprisingly good MACtion Tuesday night between four bowl-eligible teams and Wednesday night between 9-1 Ball State and the undefeated NIU Huskies.

More from SB Nation college football:

Week 12 schedule full of big conference games

Why Stanford’s loss to Utah wasn’t THAT bad

Fresno State, the disappointing BCS-buster

Bowl projections: Bama-FSU and 34 other games

Long reads: Has Baylor crafted the ultimate football offense?