clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Alphabetical, Week 2: Let's talk about home

Mack Brown has begun work on a safer bathroom, Steve Spurrier only has one response to evil, and UTAH STATE IS PROBABLY BETTER THAN USC.

Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

ADL. Activities of daily living, also known as the set of skills people have to lose before they're placed in assisted living facilities. These are simple things: bathing, dressing, feeding, and other things which you find easy and some older people do not. When you can't do them anymore, that's when it's time to go to a home and spend your days eating soft foods and watching NCIS, our nation's most popular television show. (Shh. Don't tell anyone that episodic network television now makes its money solely off captive populations like prisoners and the elderly.)

Bath strips. It sounds morbid, but it will happen, and you might as well recognize the signs in all phases of life. Football-wise, it starts when a team loses motor function completely in one portion of its body. A good example pulled from thin air might be the Texas Longhorns' complete inability to stop the run, and not against a particularly good offensive attack. BYU spent Week 1 losing to Virginia. They spent Week 2 skipping jauntily over Texas linebackers and watching Taysom Hill run unblocked to the foothills of the Wasatch Range. There is a moment when you realize the bathtub is no longer a relaxing oasis. It is instead a deathtrap waiting to kill anyone foolish enough to step casually into it.

Mack Brown fired Manny Diaz after two games, then cautiously coated the bottom of the tub in traction-friendly bath strips.

Canes. There are other signs of impending decline besides rancid defense. You can develop an offensive anemia so severe you lose to Washington State at home despite the Cougars only rushing for seven yards. Thirty-eight would be considered young for an assisted living facility, but if that facility is the American Athletic Conference, then the best chances for Lane Kiffin's survival would be a quick relegation to it for rehabilitation. Louisville can take their place in the Pac-12 for a year on loan, and then in 2014 happily move into America's new power conference, the almighty ACC. Fruit cups and a properly challenged Teddy Bridgewater for everyone.

Diagnosis. This assumes you want to treat the patient. But if there's an inheritance to be had, or grudges to settle, you may want that person gone, and the will read as soon as possible. We are but two games into the season, but it is time to have a realistic discussion about Grandpa Mack, the fortunes of Texas football, and how any diagnosis of Brown will necessarily be confusing, only partially correct, and problematic. We should also talk about what you're getting in his will. (Nothing. Absolutely positively nothing.)

Etiology. We've used this one before, but it means the cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition. Texas is not bad because of Manny Diaz, who in three years watched his reputation as one of coaching's bright young talents get incinerated in a cloud of surrendered yardage. Please note that Diaz should have been fired, and fired with insane prejudice. He should have perhaps been humanely packaged into a comfortable projectile-craft and fired into the next state for the job he did at Texas. He was awful because the definition of awful has to include BYU running like Nebraska '95 on your ass, or awful means nothing.

Filigree. Pause the discussion for a moment to appreciate the detailing on the Fresno State offense. It's fundamentally sound, aggressive in design, and functional, sure. But like all fine works, it's the detailing that gets you: the engine note of a Ferrari, the impossible gloss of a Cezanne, and the moment when you call a hook-and-lateral for a fifth-year offensive lineman against Sacramento State.

The greatest detail of that play is that they didn't even make the big man run too hard, because they love him and understand that being winded sucks.

GERG. But back to Texas. Diaz should have been fired. Greg Robinson, the man promoted to replace Diaz, might have been very bad at his job recently, but consider this: if he is terrible at his job, nothing will have changed about the Texas defense, and Brown can legitimately claim he did not tolerate mediocrity in its present state. He will have made a new mediocrity and at least given fans some variety in their disappointment. (Also: Greg Robinson may entertain by shaking around stuffed animals on the sideline. This is real, has happened in the NFL and at Michigan, and will likely happen again.)

The larger question for Texas is how it ever got this far. How did Diaz, who was great in six years of defensive coordinator work prior to his stint in Austin, fail to do the same work with a different staff made up of longtime Brown assistants? How does a team with so much talent fail to develop it? Particularly on the offensive side of the ball, where Texas has not had a player had one player drafted since 2010? And hasn't had an offensive lineman drafted since 2008?

How does Texas, a school with every imaginable advantage in terms of money, recruiting pitches, and incoming talent, the only school big enough to command its own ESPN-built network, currently sit on a three-year average win/loss record below those of Baylor, Texas A&M, TCU, and Oklahoma?

Hoary. As in "old and trite," like the argument that, yes, Brown recruited you as a safety. We're glad you know that joke by now, but you and everyone on the planet knows it, don't you? And suspect that though recruiting is an inaccurate science, and filled with never-beens and hardly-weres, that the long parade of talent that did not go to Texas, and in fact went elsewhere and prospered, is just the grace note on the long sonata playing Mack Brown into a golf-ridden retirement as a hilariously overpaid athletic director?

Mack Brown may not have recruited you as a safety, but the cliches are starting to feel right: that he is loyal to a fault to longtime assistants, that the recruiting apparatus in Texas is a broken Nintendo DS compared to Alabama's thumping Cray XK6 supercomputer, and that Brown, always a CEO dependent on his assistants, may have lost his ability to groom new coaches. He may be stuck in the Tuberville Death Spiral of assistants' firings heralding his eventual demise.

Intermittent Tuberville Death Spiral. That can be avoided, mind you. Mark Richt canned Willie Martinez, hired Todd Grantham, and nearly made the BCS in 2012. Nick Saban sheds assistants like scales and simply grows a new layer of protection, while Oregon has completely lost its head twice in the past decade with little ill effect on the body of the Ducks' football program. From 1968 to 1970 Bear Bryant hit a similar patch at Alabama. He staved off obsolescence by installing the Wishbone, then spent the rest of the decade selling opponent's blood on the black market for extra cash.

Mack Brown has already changed his offense twice. He now has to overhaul his defense for the second time, but if this week proved anything, it is that Mack Brown is willing to do anything to survive. Parts will be replaced, entire wings of the Texas football mansion gutted and rebuilt, and he might live through this yet. They might beat Ole Miss by 40 points or lose by 20. You wouldn't be surprised by either, but Mack Brown probably wouldn't either, and that more than anything says a lot about where college football's most profligate old aristocrat stands in 2013.

Jibes. USC fans have them.

The image is not a new one, but that doesn't matter.

You have to make a long case both for and against Brown, because for a decade he averaged over 10 wins at Texas. The case for Lane Kiffin is easier. His team, led by two four-star quarterbacks hw recruited, threw for fewer than 100 yards combined and lost at home to Washington State. Rephrased: the Cougars rushed for seven yards and beat USC in Los Angeles. Utah State and Chuckie Keeton could beat them on September 21st. My typing this without falling into a seizure of disbelief should be justification for firing by itself, and probably is admissible in a court of law in the state of California, but seriously UTAH STATE MIGHT BEAT USC, BECAUSE THEY ARE PROBABLY A BETTER FOOTBALL TEAM THAN WASHINGTON STATE. And at this moment, Washington State is a better football team than USC. That is the worst thing we have ever said about anyone, ever.

Killcow. Definition: a bully.

Football is hard, and for a few seconds I felt genuine pain for USC's quarterbacks on Saturday night because they were being bullied by Washington State's defense. Bullying is not funny even when it is done to USC. (Okay, it's funny when it happens to Kiffin, but not through the proxy of poor Cody Kessler here. He didn't deserve that.)

Lackaday. An expression of regret, or the Florida offense on Saturday. Never claim Florida football doesn't offer variety: a straight fumble by Trey Burton, a botched route also by Burton resulting in an INT, another INT thrown into quadruple coverage in the redzone, and fumbles by Jeff Driskel and Matt Jones, both forced by the Miami defense. Miami didn't have to do much to win the game, and after a pair of early scores simply waited for the Gators to hand them the ball. And because the Florida offense delivers the ball to playmakers, that is precisely what they did. To playmakers. On the Miami defense.

Malgré. In spite of, as in Miami won the game despite going 1/11 on third downs on offense. However, hold off on all announcements of the U being back, since no one is back until Jose3030 says they are. That said, they won a game ugly, and if they're capable of doing that against Florida they can do that to the entire ACC if they so choose.

Narrative. The ACC has now bested two SEC teams in back-to-back weeks. Oh, but those were just two of the top teams in the conference, which also had Virginia die at the hands of Oregon this week. Yes, and VT lost badly to Alabama and UNC was run out of the game by South Carolina in week one, but if you ever want to compete with the SEC on a rhetorical level, we're going to have to show you how to cherry-pick in the name of conference solidarity. Follow Dabo. He'll show you how:

As he leads a team, so does he lead a conference back to a competitive standard of shit-talking.

Oak Hills Golf Club. Just north of Columbia, with 18 holes of fine turf to tear a long dotted-line of divots into, if you happen to be a football coach who just lost to the team he hates most in the world. Is it fun now that Georgia sort of doesn't care about defense and has compensated for the lack of safety features in the Richt 2013 by flooring the gas, taking every corner at a drift, calling onside kicks, and making long 4th down conversions? Yes, yes it is, thought not half as fun as imagining the trail of bent clubs and wrecked ball-washers Oak Hill is going to have to clean up when Spurrier rage-whacks his way through the course this week. Evil Richt is back, and everyone knows the most amusing part in any Western is when the priest pulls back the cassock to reveal a bandolier of ammo and two pistols on his belt.

Propelled. As in grenades.

Mmm, that delicious time of year when Steve Spurrier begins the rites for firing and/or getting his defensive coordinator sent elsewhere for employment. South Carolina's coaches fought on the sideline, and Jadeveon Clowney disappeared for stretches of the game, and despite all that, this is all precursor towards South Carolina somehow knotting up the SEC East in a three-way tie with Georgia and Florida. After the opening two weeks, it just feels too 2007 up in here not to believe this isn't going to totally happen.

(In case of three-way SEC ties and unbroken tiebreakers, the SEC East's representative shall be determined by a series of coin tosses that allow, let's see ... Notre Dame to play in their place. You really should always read the rules all the way down to the bottom, every time.)

Quoz. An odd person or thing. See: Cal, who had to rally to beat Portland State 37-30. If you care to replace the opponent names for the rest of the year, this will be the score for every Cal game this year, give or take 10 points in the upper direction, because all Cal does is drop bombs, then hand a few to the opponent to make it both sporting and terrifying. After two games, freshman Jared Goff leads the nation in total passing, because if you can drive at 16 and fight for your country at 18, Sonny Dykes thinks you're old enough can tear a bloody swath through the Pac-12's defenses just a few months out of high school.

Reliquae. The remains of something, which might not be much after Baylor's done with it. The first eight drives against Buffalo: TD, TD, TD, TD, TD, TD, TD, [HALF], and TD. The Bears had nearly 800 yards of offense against Buffalo, which Florida International University will take four games to reach at its current pace. This entry mentions FIU's offense in the same breath with Baylor's. This entry should be burned for such blasphemy.

Status: Georgia State, possessors of the worst schedule in college football, lost 42-14 to Chattanooga. At 0-2 they now head to face West Virginia, who only scored seven points in a loss to Oklahoma and who usually prefers to score about 500. In the absence of hope, we can only suggest courage, Georgia State, and perhaps a winding clock if both parties agree at the half to use one. (This is a serious suggestion. Ask for it.)

Tumbleweed. That ball clearly wants to get the hell out of Wyoming. It is pining for its home in Idaho.

We hope you got there someday, little buddy. Tumble on, homesick little pigskin of the west. Tumble on toward that indigo line called the horizon, where you'll find your way somewhere between hope and Pocatello.

UTEP. Would someone on the Miners please tackle Kasey Carrier, the New Mexico running back who ran 41 times for 291 yards and four TDs? And then, if you're feeling sportsmanlike, please sedate him and place him in an ice tub under medical supervision for several days. It's hard to tell if Bob Davie gives him the ball because he loves him, or because he hates him and wants him to die from Exploding Knees.

Versute. Crafty and wily, like Devin Gardner scrambling to keep drives alive for Michigan. Crafty can also mean "stupid like a fox," as in the instance when Gardner ran backward into the endzone to put himself in danger of getting a safety, but then safely opted for the more conventional INT for a Notre Dame touchdown.

Saying a quarterback reminds you of Erik Ainge of Tennessee can be good and bad. It's good, because he's mobile, physically gifted, and often fearless. It's bad because sometimes that means Evil Erik Ainge, the one who threw interceptions when the team could least afford it. Gardner sort of reminds me of Ainge. Tommy Rees, however, might BE Erik Ainge, using a warm body as a spiritual proxy to replay his career in an alternate historical line.

Wireless. As in microphones, like the ones referees forget to mute

Xanthocyanopsy. A form of color blindness in which only blue and yellow can be seen. Noted sufferer: an overwhelmed and clearly disoriented Eminem, stunned by the maize and blue horde while stumbling through an interview with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit Saturday night. (Or he was seeing this.)

Yes? Oh, you say Bobby Petrino's team turned the ball over five times in a quarter on six snaps? Have you considered the offensive coordinator's job at the University of Florida, sir? YOU SOUND MORE THAN QUALIFIED.

Zapp Brannigan Quote That Explains The Upcoming Alabama/Texas A&M Game No Matter What Happens.

[a "herd" of Lucy Liu robots are destroying New New York]

Captain Zapp Brannigan: That's a wave of destruction that's easy on the eyes!

More from SB Nation:

Georgia, Miami, Michigan surge in AP poll

Texas replaces defensive coordinator with Greg Robinson

Michigan, FSU make BCS games in new bowl projections

Would coaches rather replace Mack Brown or Lane Kiffin?

Improving Eminem’s bizarre Notre Dame-Michigan visit

Today’s college football news headlines

The 36 best photos from college football's Week 2