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College Football Alphabetical, Week 9: What Art Deco And Notre Dame Have In Common

This week, we examine what the art deco movement and Notre Dame football have in common, manage to make TWO Battle of Verdun references (yes, of course one involves JoePa), and we open our doggie bag from the Florida-Georgia game.

SOUTH BEND IN - SEPTEMBER 04: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watches as his team takes on the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 4 2010 in South Bend Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND IN - SEPTEMBER 04: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watches as his team takes on the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 4 2010 in South Bend Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

A is for Art Deco. Like Notre Dame, Art Deco came into its own as a cultural force in the 1920s and 1930s. Similarly, it is no longer viewed as a serious stylistic choice for the modern architect wishing to build something in the 21st century. Finally, after Saturday, the other link between Art Deco architecture and Notre Dame football is that they are both owned in part by the city of Tulsa, a surprising place to find both a good sampling of one of America's most celebrated architectural styles and a football team that for this year owns Notre Dame.

It is a signature win for Tulsa, something the Irish should capitalize on by offering opponents commemorative plaques for the decade-long run of giving other teams "signature wins" at Notre Dame.  Get the Franklin Mint in on this and you've got yourself revenue stream lemonade out of lemons, Irish.*

*Final similarity: like many Art Deco buildings, Dayne Crist's ACL is in need of preservation, and will be under renovation for many months. 

B is for BillStewartFace. An anemic loss to Connecticut means several things. It means the Big East Championship will be left like a prank goat on the doorstep of each team until someone decides to kill it and eat it, since West Virginia doesn't seem to like playing football anymore. It means UConn's Randy Edsall can reclaim the title of the Best Coach in America Who's Always Sort Of Around Seven Wins, Except When He Isn't. It means you get prime Bill Stewart Face not once, but at least twice. 



(via bubbaprog)

West Virginia's offense is now seventh in the Big East, a twiddling attack fond of racking up yardage (414 yards on Friday night) with only 13 points to show for it thanks to seven fumbles total with four fumbles lost. You people want to let Syracuse win this thing? Fine. When the Mayans are sitting there nodding and ticking off another event on their list of signs of the apocalypse, you go right ahead and ignore them. 

C is for Christian. As in the thing to do, as in forgiveness, and also a reference to the first name of Christian Ponder, whose fumble with :53 seconds in the game tipped as even a matchup as you'll see all year between Florida State and NC State. Ponder's hand was jarred in a collision with the running back on the handoff move, the ball flopped loose, and Ponder, who scrambled relentlessly to get Florida State down the field after NC State went ahead with 2:44 on the clock, spent the remaining seconds in tears on the bench. 

Most of the time I would say crying is overly theatrical, but not here. That's a three hanky mistake, sir, and merits a good bawling like that of an infant lowered into bathwater a few degrees too warm for its liking. We won't think any less of you, especially because NC State appears to be the only team that really wants or cares to win the ACC. 

D is for Doggie Bag. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party really was a collection of leftovers and scraps set in motion on the football field. Georgia's promising but underdone redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, throwing to grade A prime beef like AJ Green and then [THE REST OF GEORGIA'S UNDERWHELMING OFFENSIVE CREW], all facing off against a Florida defense where the linebackers still don't know to whip their head around in coverage on a Cover 2.

Still, the most scrapulent unit on the field Saturday was Florida's offense, a jerry-rigged amalgam of three quarterbacks (John Brantley, Trey Burton, and TE Jordan Reed in short yardage,) a freshly reinstated midget running back coming off a suspension for threatening a woman via text message, and one and a half capable receivers on the field at any time. Somehow it worked, either with the explicit complicity of the Georgia defense (who allowed 450 yards on the day,) or with the tacit endorsement of fortune itself. Luck is catching two tipped passes at critical junctures in the game and somehow getting your punter to hit a 37 yard field goal in overtime to win it.  Cruel misfortune is being on the other side of it. 

E is for ED. Clemson suffered this weekend's most baffling moment of erectile dysfunction, scoring 10 points in the first quarter against Boston College and then none for the rest of the game in losing to a Boston College team that was previously 0-4 in conference. BC Head Coach Frank Spaziani and Offensive Coordinator Gary Tranquill, whose combined age is 728 years old, both enjoyed your ineptitude, Clemson, and sympathize with your condition. 

F is for Fleet. Fast decisions with long conclusions were the mode this weekend. Nebraska leapt out ahead of Mizzou 24-0 before the Tigers could so much as whimper. Michigan State, assuming the game was a 7 p.m. kick, happily scrimmaged with Iowa for three hours before they were told that this was in fact the MSU/Iowa game, and that the lackadaisical blowout they just played was a game. Oregon leapt out with a two point conversion on their opening score, dropped the throttle, and deliberately slowed down their attack in the second half to stifle any USC comebacks.

Out for the second half of the season: sudden heart attack finishes. (Sorry Les Miles.) In: tidy takedowns and long chokeholds.*

*Alphabetical fashion advice typically has an expiry date of one week. Use at your own discretion. 

G is for GERG. The internet alter ego of Greg Robinson, who may have to be sacrificed at Michigan for Rich Rod's survival even if the Michigan secondary is at this point six confused toddler running around chasing butterflies. Michigan's offensive production was its usual sterling self, but even if the offense scored on every single possession Michigan would still be playing bad tennis with its opponents due to its defense.

Turnstiles would take offense at the comparison, but the numbers are more damning than any simile: 435 yards and 41 points allowed to a previously wretched Nittany Lions offense. Rich Rod may not be fired--this is still Michigan, and it is still an institution that frowns on distasteful coaching coups-- but Greg Robinson might be the sacrificial lamb here, something he's more than accustomed to being. 

H is for Huh. ABC's cameras cut to Joe Paterno after a game-sealing fake field goal to run out the clock for Penn State, and JoePa had zero reaction to the call because:

  • He didn't know it was coming. 
  • It was a pre-snap read, and Joe was just as surprised as the rest of us. 
  • It was nice, but it was nothing compared to the fake punt he saw run at the Battle of Verdun. 

I is for Ignoble. This is where nice things go for Baylor. Yay Robert Griffin, whose triumphant return hit a new peak in defeating Texas for the first time since 1997. Yay Baylor for being ranked, 7-2, and oh my goodness this feels weird to type a legitimate Big 12 Title Contender. Congrats to all of that. It is impressive, and all due credit and Coach of the Year consideration goes to Art Briles. 

Now for the ignoble part: Texas, whic in falling to a 4-4 is now headed for what will be Mack Brown's worst season in Austin thanks to an offense incapable of moving the ball against Baylor, or Iowa State, or UCLA, or anyone else they would beat in any other year at home but lose to in 2010. The nagging lack of power run game continued; so did the horizontal game planning, and the misguided reliance on Garrrett Gilbert as a runner. 

J is for Jumping the Gun. The planning is fairly simple from this point: either Mack Brown seriously rebuilds the Texas offense in a few years, or he retires and hands the program off to the man Bob Davie likes calling "Will MUSS-camp." The retirement option is not as fantastical as it seems: Brown is 59, four years older than his hero Darrell Royal at retirement. Retooling the offense would mean getting rid of his most loyal assistant, Greg Davis, the offensive coordinator on the 2005 BCS Title team. 

He might rather let someone he trusts do the rebuilding at this point, take the AD spot, and enjoy the flesh-pressing and steak dinners while simultaneously heading off any poaching of the Longhorns' most prized assistant. This seems like fanfiction at this point, but when one coach gets fired at a major in the week after the championship games watch what starts flying around. This scenario will look like a sober economist's mumblings compared to what you'll read then. 

K is for the Krapple Kup. The state of Washington in FBS football did not score a point on Saturday. That is all. 

L is for Lariat. Dawg, Alshon Jeffrey put the team on his back, dude. (Warning: language.) Let's go inside the mind of an Alshon Jeffrey. 

Dawg, I don't know how I'm doing this. i mean, it's just a short pass across the middle, and it's tied 24-24 in the third, dawg. You'd think this is when Tennessee would want to tackle me, but I'm just running, and running, and still running on this little crossing route across the middle, and whoops--there goes a tackle, and another, and it's really clear at this point that I've got a nitrous switch no one else on the field has right now, and now it's 31-24 and who's gonna pumping gas in two years, Lane Kiffin? 

It was an astonishing play, but that's what Alshon Jeffrey does this year. You can't stop him. Cross the plane. Touch. Down. 

M is for Makeshift. Haphazard, assembled on the spot, and leaning heavily on spare parts, Arizona continues to win football games, with backup Matt Scott passing for 319 yards to beat UCLA 29-21. Arizona still lurks out there in the Pac-10 at 7-1, and faces the nastiest three game stretch of any team in the country coming up: Oregon, USC, and Stanford. If Nic Foles doesn't come back for any of these, you'll need some protection, Arizona. 


That's all the help we have. If you throw a shark at LaMichael James, it may clamp onto his leg and limit him to somewhere around 150 yards rushing. (Maybe.) 

N is for Nullus. Akron had eight first downs and zero points against Temple and remains one of two fat kid waiting with sad eyes to be picked in the game of Teams With Wins Dodgeball. It's okay, Akron! Someday you'll get adult hair in the places you're supposed to get it, and then you'll find a girl, and she'll love you for who you are (which is a team that doesn't win football games.) 

Its only friend New Mexico State lost to Colorado State 38-14. I'm going to stop writing now before I transpose any more of my terrifying and sorrowful gym class memories onto Mike Locksley, since he probably beat me up once in gym class, and because he still does that with his players (and beating your employees is never funny) (unless it's Mike Locksley doing the beating, and New Mexico letting him have a job after said beating while losing every game they play by large margins).

O is for Onus. This week's extremely judgmental second-guessing will follow Brian Kelly. 42 seconds are on the clock. You have a good field goal kicker, and are on the Tulsa 21 after running the ball on first down. YOU MAKE THE CALL. Do you: 

  1. Allow time to run out, then kick a field goal, then stand like a befuddled muppet on the sideline? 
  2. Fumble, recover, and then lose 23 yards on the play and attempt a hopeless FG stoically? 
  3. Throw a fade into the endzone for an interception on second down?  
  4. Throw a fade into the endzone for an interception, and then call Jon Bon Jovi on your personal cell phone just to show everyone that even though you are a terrible head coach, you know famous people and stuff? 
If you said one, you are Bob Davie, and are fired. From what? Everything. if you said two, you are Ty Willingham, and why are you reading this when there are golf greens just sitting out there unputted? If you said three, you are Brian Kelly, who went for six when three would have done with his inexperienced backup QB. If you said four, you are Charlie Weis, and are really insecure despite having made more money than most people will ever dream of seeing coaching mediocre college football. 

(The onus was on Kelly to make the right call, and as much as we like Kelly, the deep throw was insane and Miles-ish at best. At least Les waited until there were less than ten seconds to go before doing the same playcall to Auburn in 2007, and got an incompletion out of it before a game-winning FG. a win out of it, because he is Les Miles.) 


P is for Protean. This week's Nebraska team, changing costumes yet again to play like an entirely different team than last week's squad, decided that after an injury to Taylor Martinez they would be a traditional halfback-first team. This proved to be a way better costume idea than some of their others (see their "lump o' nothin'" costume worn against Texas). Nebraska continues to win games through a kind of talented schizophrenia, and has us expecting them to roll out an unreformed 1986 Run 'n Shoot for the Big 12 Title game.  

On the downside of that: as impressive as Roy Helu, Jr .whipping up 307 yards rushing is, you don't do that kind of tricentennial damage without a Mizzou defense laying down and playing their natural role as speed bumps a week after beating Oklahoma. 

Q is for Quarrelin'. The Derek Dooley 2010 Experience gets more fun as Matt Simms, benched for Tyler Bray, demonstrates his command of messaging when speaking with the media. 

"Nothing much I can do about getting hit in the back and the guy stripping the ball from me," Simms said. "That's one of the better defensive lines in the conference and you know ... hey, if you get hit a lot, sometimes the ball comes out. Other than that, I thought I played really well. Didn't turn the ball over besides those. It wasn't like I dropped back and threw it to the other team."

Bray did, but he also threw two TDs to Matt Simms' one, so it all evens out except for the whole "not starting" thing. Tennessee is 0-5 in conference, and may lose to Vanderbilt. Frame this, so one day you may remember this happening and humble yourselves in times when you feel you need humbling. Program failure can strike at any time, and it is neither permanent nor avoidable. 

R is for Rapido. My favorite moment from Oregon's three hour long action sequence with USC? Chip Kelly calling a deep pass to Josh Huff with 32 seconds on the clock from the Oregon four yard line and getting a 57 yard gain. This indicates both that USC's secondary is just as friendly as they've been all year, and that Chip Kelly doesn't care. About what, you ask? Anything but scoring, since time on the clock is time your offense could be moving down the field to rack up 53 points on the Trojans on their homefield. It's not bragging if you can steal it, burn it, throw it into someone's house, catch the whole neighborhood on fire, and do whatever it is Oregon does on offense that is so simultaneously irresistible and intimidating. 

S is for Schizophrenia. Cal, fresh off a brick handling of Arizona State, lost to Oregon State 35-7 simply to even out the balance sheet, since the purpose of Cal football is to win or lose by double digit margins on alternating weeks as part of a long game theory study being done by the Cal-Berkeley Department of Economics. Tedford's in on it. It's the only thing that could possibly explain how this team plays such dramatically inconsistent football. (Never fear: there's a Nobel at the end of this for everyone, Oski included.) 

T is for Tantrum. Scoring 62 points on Wake Forest is not an offensive breakout, Maryland, it is a tantrum. They're Wake Forest! They can't defend themselves! THEY'RE DEFENSELESS. THROW THE FLAG! 

U is for Unintended Comedy. Purdue is worse than Illinois this year, Ron Zook may have saved his job by hiring good coordinators, and we're laughing to keep out the hurt because all of this is frightening and alien to us. 

V is for Verdun, Redux. Permit us both a retweet of ourselves for the purpose of summarizing Danny Hope's 2010 campaign in a single 140 character burst: 


W is for Winslow, Lt. No soldiers remain on Miami, whose ranks broke against UVA this weekend. Randy Shannon is an excellent disciplinarian, and a very good defensive coordinator. At 14-14 in the ACC with the South Florida recruiting base, he's a mediocre coach in the strictest definition of the word. 

X is for Xenagogue. One who conducts strangers, which is what BCS Title Game officials will be if the pattern holds and Auburn and Oregon make their first appearances in the game. 

Y is for Yardage. The Oregon offense has totalled 2.61 miles of total offense in 2010. It's actually 4583 yards after this weekend, but highway measurements seem much more appropriate when discussing the Quack Attack. 

Z is for Zwolle, LA. Not far from Shreveport, where--GASP--Florida and Texas could have theoretically met for the Independence Bowl before the sad breakup of the bowl's ties to the SEC and Big 12. It would have been the only proper place for the teams to meet, and in a perfect world its sponsor would have been Poulan Weed-Eaters.