The Rootability Index helps you, the uninterested neutral fan, decide who to root for in the big games of the weekend. This week you learn that old people working in subterranean Los Angeles sweatshops drive the editing of Michael Bay's films.
MISSOURI AT ARIZONA STATE. Laugh all you like about Mike Leach being college football's mock pirate, but Dennis Erickson is the real thing: traveling from port to port, pillaging at will, and doing so with brilliant but wildly uneven results across the board, staying but for a brief while before tramping to the next port. See the trident on their new logo? It's apparent that bored and approaching the end of his career, Erickson is daring Neptune himself to fight him to the death.
Just to scare the crap out of him, Gary Pinkel will show up with a Neptunian trident and costume beard glued to his face, but it will kind of fall apart in the desert heat by the third quarter. Then Pinkel will just look like a weird, lost gardener who went face-first into a pile of pencil shavings. This will all seem normal, because the temperature at kickoff will be 189 degrees Fahrenheit, and you will hallucinate just watching the game, much less boiling in the stands in person.
LEAN: Arizona State. It'll be a thousand degrees and they're the ones wearing all-black, that's why.
IOWA VERSUS IOWA STATE. You might be tempted to lean toward underdog Iowa State. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the Big 12 conference together, are continually overmatched in conference play against larger, more notable competition, and once had Gene Chizik as their head coach without the benefit of also having two of the best players in college football to win games for him. They've been through a lot.
Iowa can only counter with this extremely accurate rendition of their own Maryland-inspired state flag uniforms.
Dunno, guys. Looks photoshopped to me. (Via.)
LEAN: Iowa. You can't argue with art.
MISSISSIPPI STATE at AUBURN. [30s newsreel announcer voice] Upstart Auburn stunned the world by upsetting Utah State, thus showing the bullies in the WAC a thing or two about whatfor and nonesuch on the field of football hulaballoo! Look for head honcho Gene Chizik and his upstart band of gridiron scamps to continue their tenacious tussling with the maroon brigadoons of Mississippi State. Watch out, Dan Mullen: these Eagles mean War! [/30s newsreel announcer]
LEAN: Mississippi State.
ALABAMA at PENN STATE. You'd have to hate America to root for Penn State here. After all, if we believe anything, it's in immediate results, success at all costs, and short, angry men who grab the world by the gonads and demand the keys to both the liquor cabinet AND your jet ski for the weekend (and maybe longer if they want.) Joe Paterno is old, and as far as I know we outlawed old people going outside and reminding everyone of death sometime around 1983. Did you know old people in Los Angeles are kept in special underground chambers where they edit Michael Bay movies all day? In Pennsylvania they let them coach football and talk in public, and that's just gross, Pennsylvania. Thankfully, Nick Saban's steady diet of interferon milkshakes and live infant bats will keep him ageless for the next century at least.
LEAN: Penn State. We're kidding. The part about old people being forced to live in tunnels in L.A. is totally true, though.
SOUTH CAROLINA at GEORGIA. Points in UGA's favor: the horrendous Power Rangers hand-me-downs they wore against Boise State are a thing of the past forever. Points against: they are the same football team in different wrapping, and do not feature a vagabond 34 year old former door-to-door gold salesman and unpublished poet as their quarterback. If you want to throw against Georgia, South Carolina, please do so in the broad, open space defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has provided just for this purpose.
LEAN: South Carolina.
BYU at TEXAS. BYU played a brilliant anti-game last week against Ole Miss in just waiting for the Rebels' offense to just hand them some points and then the game. The same plan...well, the same plan should work just fine against Texas, actually. For bonus points, BYU can repeat the "fat, slow defensive lineman falls on quarterback and injures your quarterback" maneuver from the BYU Oklahoma game two years ago. Just like the discussing the imminent collapse of the conference, it's a Big 12 tradition to have a bulky Mormon take your quarterback out for the season!
LEAN: BYU. Do sweat this, Texas: this will be a conference game soon enough.
UTAH at USC. Please let this be the week that Lane Kiffin loses a game because he went for stupid two point conversions in the first quarter Please let this be the week that Lane Kiffin loses a game because he went for stupid two point conversions in the first quarter Please let this be the week that Lane Kiffin loses a game because he went for stupid two point conversions in the first quarter Please let this be the week that Lane Kiffin loses a game because he went for stupid two point conversions in the first quarter Please let this be the week that Lane Kiffin loses a game because he went for stupid two point conversions in the first quarter---
LEAN: Utah. They can do math, unlike some people.
NOTRE DAME AT MICHIGAN. The first night game at Michigan Stadium invites a Notre Dame team that last week outgained USF by double the yardage, moved the ball at will between the 20s, and then turned the ball over in the endzone before suffering multiple rain delays in what may have been one of the most frustrating games in a very frustrating recent history for Notre Dame. You know how it's a bad idea to start a fight with a guy who just got out of jail? That is exactly what is going to happen here, and it's therefore hard not to root for recent inmate Kelly and the rage he's going to unleash on Fake Mike Golic at home.
LEAN: Notre Dame.