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The Alphabetical, Week 3: Utah Is On The Field (Again)

This week's Alphabetical clarifies what makes college football different: random mobs, personal attacks on coaches, and Pitt beating Virginia Tech.

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Alabandical is not the right word. It means "stupefied from drink," and a Utah crowd, while it does have its Jack Mormons and drinkers, is not on the list of "drunkest college football mob units." (Hi, Ohio State! Bon soir, LSU.)

This is good. They don't need any help generating total chaos on a football field.


That is the playbook for the Utah student section, aka the beloved MUSS, who like jolly idiot lemmings charged the field during a live ball situation on Saturday night, gave BYU 15 yards of field and a replay of a game-tying field goal, and who then went right back to the playbook in charging the field for a third time in victory. Champions: they practice the basics until they can't get it wrong. The Utah student section will now continue charging across America until they interrupt every major event in our society, including intimate time with your significant other.

Bipolar Syndrome is the mental illness pretty much every college football fan could easily self-diagnose themselves with in the first month of the season. Take case study BYU, for instance. They opened the season with a Friday night dissection of Washington State, a Pac-12 team they burned down from the rafters to the foundation. And on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, they looked utterly lost against Utah, a team that had just lost to tiny Utah State the week before as their starting quarterback looked on glumly from the sidelines in a sling. A small data set--just three weeks of football against wildly divergent talent in wildly divergent stages of development--will both mimic mental illness and cause it.

Crowd control is not college football's strength, but college football is where order usually comes in second place to everything else anyway. In fact, let's take this whole situation as a case in point as to how different this game truly is at its core:

One young girl in a red Stanford sweatshirt -- she couldn't have been more than 18 -- rushed up to Lane Kiffin and just started screaming, "[Bleep] you, Lane Kiffin! [Bleep] you, you [bleepin'] loser!"

Shutdown Fullback reviews Week 4 of thGOOOOOOO UUUUUTES

Please keep in mind that this is a man paid a huge amount of money to coach a game, left to wander a field filled with underpaid post-adolescent labor, accosted by a fan of the underdog team in a most personal manner because...because there is no order, and because only in college football can Stanford claim a realistic claim to underdog status, and because that girl with the 35 ACT felt such rage-joy over a game that she abandoned all 18 to 20 years of upbringing and manners to tell a total stranger to fuck himself.

Declared: charge the field whenever you want, or can. Like there's rules to any of this, or like you're the one to do it. Personally, I would have loved the opportunity to rush the field as a fan, but Florida's field is protected by dogs and angry redneck policemen with little else to do but put their knee on someone's neck. This country wasn't founded by people with manners. It was founded by heathens who charged fields and drank too much--i.e., college football fans.

Entropic trends mean things slow down or decay as a matter of fact and natural law. USC has one very nasty element speeding up its entropy: sanctions, and the lack of depth, something made worse by injury. Want to see what happens when you have to start your backup center against a deep, mean, and very motivated Stanford defensive line? Watch Matt Barkley take two steps back from the snap under center and get sacked by the nose tackle, and you will see why depth and injury were two very legitimate concerns for anyone arguing for a USC national title this year.

Fairly esoteric strategic note: Does it seem strange to line up in a five-wide formation under center like USC did at the end? Not that Matt Barkley could pose a real run threat out of the shotgun, but still, the idea that USC is so keyed towards a pro-style offense that a five-wide shotgun set is considered unclean is bizarre--especially when so many teams run it on third and long now.

Germane to the idea of weird strategic notes is the decision by Notre Dame to do the stupid-simple against MIchigan State. Faced with a faceful of stunting hell from the Michigan State d-line, Notre Dame countered the way it's done everything with Everett Golson at quarterback: simplifying its assignments, rolling Golson out, and slowing down the rush with the threat of the QB run on the edge. That is a real threat now, Notre Dame. Congratulations.

Hammers: just rows and rows of them, all you'll see in Mark Dantonio's toolshed at home in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State does well in any situation where they can assault a stationary target at quarterback, stuff the run by confounding the offensive line, and then bring out whatever running back they're going to give 500 carries a game.

Incidentally, this strategy fails if you have an anvil for that hammer to fall onto harmlessly, and Notre Dame does. It is so dodgy looking at anything Notre Dame-related and saying anything reasonable; as a team, they carry their own distortion field with them. Acknowledge that, and then acknowledge this: Manti Te'o can crack skulls with anyone in college football, especially if you run right at him.

Judiciously. One can say this safely in the Irish Distortion Field as of September 18, 2012: a Notre Dame team has won two close, low-scoring games against decent competition. They are promising. Their middle linebacker is amazing, and had 12 tackles on Saturday under unimaginably difficult personal circumstances. Those sentences are already warping into something else now that I've typed them, but that's what you can say about Notre Dame right now without regretting too much later on in the season.

Kill, Kill, Kill. Jerry Kill went for it on 4th and 15 in a game against Western Michigan where the Golden Gophers were only up 28-17. Jerry Kill is out of giveadamns, and it is glorious. (Minnesota won, and is still undefeated on the season despite looking horrendous at times against mediocre competition, but Jerry Kill don't see no pageant banners out there, dude.)

Lugent is a word meaning weeping, and is this week a synonym for Colorado football.

It really is cheating to say this since Colorado football is a synonym for weeping every week, but when the story of this season is written for Colorado, someone should remember the time a linebacker was taken out by a safety tripping over the field umpire. Then that story, and all its unspeakable horrors, should be burned, and buried deep beneath the earth's surface.


The fetal pose of the safety there is the saddest and most fitting summary of this exact moment in Colorado football.

Mephistopheles' Box Score: Akron has it.


Terry Bowden is our most adorable, cherubic antichrist this week, and may have the tables turned on him this week against a very angry Tennessee team. Good luck, Morning Star.

None. The exact number of passing touchdowns Iowa has through three weeks. Calling for a coach to be fired is the easiest thing for a fanbase to do, but it's made even easier when your head coach looks at Greg Davis' work at Texas and says, "let's get that hotness for our team, man."

Occulcation is the act of trampling, and it is a word you need to know since Alabama is exhausting the pool of words used to properly describe the airtight brand of football they are playing. Arkansas, a team with Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson in the backfield, scraped together 58 yards total against Alabama, averaging 1.57 yards a carry. You get 56. 5 inches every carry against Alabama. Troll Science demands to know why you don't just save your carries for the one yard line, stupid people playing Alabama. (Duh.)

Princess Alice and the story of its sinking will make you feel better, Arkansas. See? You could be the fan of a team with a lunatic interim coach ("Smile, SMILE!" is something John L. Smith actually started a press conference with this week.) You could be the fan of a team completing a long fall from third in the 2011 BCS standings to losing to a Sun Belt team at home, and then paying for the privileges. You are this fan, actually. I'm so sorry it had to be this way.

Then again, you could have been on a shipwreck that happened in front of the London sewer system's biggest outflow just at the moment the pipes disgorged its first huge deposit of the day. I repeat: you could have died drowning while the entire city of London took its morning constitutional on you. See? It's not the worst thing that could happen, Arkansas fans.

Quibbleism: the art of quibbling, which here is pointing out that you could also be a Colorado fan. That is pretty bad right now, too.

Recycling last week's storyline, let's do the Big Ten's work for them. Michigan State showed a total inability to pass the ball and diversify their offense played a tough Notre Dame team bound for greatness. Minnesota almost lost to a MAC team hung tough against Western Michigan. Illinois got a gimme win against Charleston Southern solid comeback win after the debacle at Arizona State, and Ohio State struggled defensively against a slumping Cal team finished strong against a game Cal team. Indiana lost to Ball State for the third game in a row in the series had a bye week.

Still more impressive, though: Wisconsin's dominating win over Utah State, a team that beat Utah, who is a team that just beat BYU, who is a team that just beat Washington State. Take Utah State (2012) over Utah (2004 Fiesta Bowl team), who beat BYU (1984), and throw in a little imaginative but impossible time travel, and Wisconsin is clearly on track to assemble an impressive transitive record. You're welcome, Big Ten PR people!

Tastefully nude. Mack Brown taking a knee against Ole Miss with 66 points on the board and another touchdown on the way sends a clear message: Texas has a mercy rule, and it stops at 66, a number Texas arrived at completely randomly, I'm sure.

Uglyography: the art of unintelligible handwriting, like trying to figure out whatever deranged thing Virginia Tech wrote on the wall versus PItt. A team that lost to Youngstown State put up 537 yards on a Bud Foster defense, and Tino Sunseri, who had thrown three TDs in his last five games, threw three in this game alone. Do not pretend you know what the hell this game means other than this: Bowling Green is going to die an excruciating death next week, and PItt will probably do this and then lose to someone like Temple.

Vacancies imminent in Houston, where the Cougars scored six points after firing their offensive coordinator for lack of production. The people responsible for the sacking will be sacked until it's just Tony Levine, Houston's head coach, holding 12 headsets by himself and serving as a one-man coaching staff.

WARNING! MACtion is coming this Wednesday, returning to your airwaves to wreak havoc on your understanding of basic defensive concepts and sleep schedule. Now that we've all gotten really excited about the manic pace of MAC play and total lack of defense, watch Kent State and Buffalo grind out a 4-2 snoozer only the most addicted college football junkie can appreciate. It's the last thing you would expect,

XOXOXOXO. To Derek Dooley, who will hopefully not be pulled into action as a receiver this week.

Yelve: to dig out with a dung-fork, which may be what someone will have to use to dig Maryland out from the pile of points West Virginia may suffocate them with this weekend. Then again, this being Randy Edsall, they could just as easily shock the world by beating West Virginia as long as no one scores more than 17 points.

Zydeco--the musical term--comes from the song "Les Haricot Ne Sont Pas Salés," which translated means "The snap beans aren't salty," or "I have no spicy news or interesting gossip for you." In a week where LSU is lining up to reduce Auburn to ashes, there is no spicy news in Louisiana or anywhere else coming up this week on the schedule. That is precisely why you should pay attention, because those weekends are the ones that end with the Utah student section running through your backyard.

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