ESPN's College GameDay, the gold standard for all sports studio shows and maybe all sports shows period, took its road show this week to Oxford, Mississippi for the most important game in the recent history of Ole Miss football.
The Ole Miss Rebels, sitting on the cusp of the AP top ten, at number eleven in the country, were taking on the third ranked and universally reviled Alabama Crimson Tide (and actually Bama was number one in the coaches poll, but most of the coaches are idiots so we recognize the AP poll as the measuring stick in this space) in a shot at catapulting themselves into the College Football Playoff conversation.
As ESPN does every week on GameDay, they have one celebrity join the crew to help make predictions on all of the games that day. Usually, that celebrity a) knows at least something about football and b) has some sort of affiliation with the school hosting the show that week.
But Ole Miss? Who do you go get for Ole Miss? Exactly. Other than one of the Mannings, we all have no idea who you go get.
So ESPN shattered the mold into a thousand pieces on Saturday. They went and got musical phenom Katy Perry, whose affiliation with Ole Miss is that she was in town to watch the game because her manager is an Ole Miss alum, and whose football knowledge is ostensibly zero.
It went like this....
Yes, it was weird, it was uncomfortable, it was exponentially awesome, and frankly it deserves its own Zapruder post. ("Are those the ones with the cocks in it?"...hell, screw Zapruder posts, I think that appearance might deserve its own 30 for 30.) It kicked off a day that started with the AP Top Ten looking like this (mind you, number two Oregon had already lost at home to Arizona on Thursday night):
1 Florida State (27) 4-0 1416 2 Oregon (13) 4-0 1405 3 Alabama (13) 4-0 1387 4 Oklahoma (7) 4-0 1357 5 Auburn 4-0 1272 6 Texas A&M 5-0 1206 7 Baylor 4-0 1149 8 UCLA 4-0 975 9 Notre Dame 4-0 972 10 Michigan State 3-1 944
And ended with the AP Top Ten looking like this:
1 Florida State (35) 5-0 1461 2 Auburn (23) 5-0 1459 3 Mississippi State (2) 5-0 1320 3 Ole Miss 5-0 1320 5 Baylor 5-0 1258 6 Notre Dame 5-0 1186 7 Alabama 4-1 1060 8 Michigan State 4-1 981 9 TCU 4-0 979 10 Arizona 5-0 951
Yes, they are both called the AP Top Ten, but they look nothing alike. It's like the AP Top Ten went and got a really strange case of botox (seriously...both Mississippi schools? TCU? Arizona?). What I'm saying is that, in trying to make sense of this weekend, Katy Perry's bizarre appearance on GameDay made more sense than anything else.
And make no mistake, her appearance barely made any sense at all.
So how did we get here? Well, I can't recap every minute of every play that gave us this new face lifted Top Ten and threw our entire college football watching lives into disarray. I just don't have the time, it would require a one month sabbatical just to type the words and embed the video, let alone assimilate my thoughts.
What I can do is, as best I can, reconstruct a moderately thorough, somewhat chronological road map that will entertain and enlighten. That's all i can do. So let's try to Zapruder all of this...
First, I think the SEC official in the Florida-Tennessee game sums up the feelings of any AP voter asked to assemble their ballot this week, and sums up the feelings of anybody who invested their time or money in watching the hideous 10-9 Florida victory in which he was officiating....
The funniest part of that game was watching Will Muschamp celebrate like he just won the Sugar Bowl and thinking to myself "Dude, you are so fired at the end of the season." (And I'm not gonna lie, speaking of botox, I can't look at Muschamp now without thinking of Mrs. Muschamp and the horrible crooked smile some surgeon affixed to her visage. That poor girl.)
Sadly, the A&M-Mississippi State game that was supposed to carry the early part of the day was the reminder we've been waiting for for over a month that a) Johnny Manziel is no longer an Aggie and b) Kevin Sumlin has never been the coach of a team with even a mediocre defense...
By the end of that game, Kenny Hill's parents were trademarking all of Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott's nicknames. ("What words rhyme with Dak? Um, let's see... Dak Attack? The Touchdown Dak-tory? Ah, screw it...he's Dakky Trill!!") In fact, the best performance by an Aggie quarterback came from backup Kyle Allen who was spinning serious game on the sidelines.
THIS is how you handle not winning the starting job, people....
THAT is Trill. Actually, that's more like WWJD (What Would Johnny Do).
Also, final score....Mississippi 48, Texas A&M 31, in a game that wasn't even that close.
Then came the 2:30 p.m. block of games, which was highlighted by the following potentially rankings-altering match ups:
#3 Alabama at #11 Ole Miss #14 Stanford at #9 Notre Dame #4 Oklahoma at #25 TCU
(Not to mention a Baylor visit to Austin that was basted in some nice juices from trash talk throughout the week. That was like the basket of bread you nibble at while devouring these other delicious treats.)
We probably should've known that weird shit was going to happen when all three home teams in those games were underdogs in Vegas. That's just a recipe for upheaval.
And upheaval we got!
Down went Oklahoma...
Down went Stanford....
And down went Alabama....
And up went the Ole Miss mascot's nether regions...
And there were Bo Wallace on field selfless (Side bar: 2014 is awesome.)
Bo Wallace stopping to take a selfie amidst the celebration is awesome .. pic.twitter.com/JtmxLtrd8B
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) October 4, 2014
Vegas gave us the road map for this Alabama game. We should have seen this coming because Nick Saban is really good at bullying shitty football teams, but doesn't like to be punched in the mouth when a near equal foe stands up to him...
Since 2010, Alabama is now 2-10 ATS when favored by 10 points or less in a regular season SEC game. Lost 5 outright.
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) October 4, 2014
...which is awesome because after the game Saban got bullied by Katy Perry!!
I will be doing a Zapruder of yesterday's entire CFB day but for now this about sums it up ... pic.twitter.com/4oaMMJ1NmB
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) October 5, 2014
...and Katy Perry is frankly the least of Saban's problems if this guy ever gets a hold of his Napoleonic ass....
It was an awesome afternoon, an earth shaking afternoon, and the message was clear -- this whole College Football Playoff race this season is going to be a whole lot more about survival (especially in the SEC West) than it is about dominance. There is no dominant team this season, although Auburn appears to be most primed to end up dominant.
And even Auburn should have lost at Kansas State two weeks ago!
So that was that, a great day of college footba....wait, what? Oh yeah, that's right...THERE WAS LIKE SIX MORE HOURS OF AMAZING COLLEGE FOOTBALL AFTER 6:00 P.M. Seriously, what did we do to deserve all of this? We LOVE you college football gods!
While #5 Auburn hosting #15 LSU was the most high profile game on the dance card, it was also a boat race, with LSU totally outclassed from jump. Thankfully, we had a couple other "games that matter" to distract us, and they were both amazing finishes for different reasons.
First, there was USC hosting Arizona State, where the Trojans gave up this doozy that the end of the game in a very conventional "fantastic finish"...
Pat Haden needs to come down from the press box and teach these kids how to knock down a Hail Mary. I think that one dude from USC was about to call a fair catch! Poor USC fans....
— Wallis Marsh (@raiseanative_99) October 5, 2014
Now, we also had Nebraska and Michigan State in a, um, different kind of fantastic finish. I was actually really excited to see this game, and watch the Michigan State defense try to extinguish the Heisman candidacy of Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, or as Lou Holtz likes to call him "AMEER MUHAMMED"....
Um, before you get your panties in a wad, internet, that was not a racist blast by Lou Holtz because a) Lou Holtz is not racist, and b) even if he were, he's like 77 years old, so he has verbal immunity. He can say anything he wants to, pretty much.
Now, for about 50 minutes of this game, it was a Michigan State rout, with Sparty taking a 27-3 lead at one point in the fourth quarter. In fact, this tweet is a pretty solid metaphor for what was happening to Nebraska for most of the game...
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) October 5, 2014
And then miraculously, with about 12 minutes to go, Nebraska mounted a comeback for the ages, especially if you took them +7 against the spread!
12:49 to go: Ameer
Muhammed Abdullah scores a touchdown to make it 27-9 (two point conversion failed).
4:10 to go:
Muhammed Abdullah again from one yard out to make it 27-16.
3:22 to go: De'Mornay Pierson-El (of the "-El" family) on a 62 yard punt return to make it 27-22 (two point conversion failed again). Somewhere Pierson-El's cousin Antwaan Randle-El was beaming!
Hell, the Spartans even gave +7 bettors a gift with about a minute to go when their kicker clanked a field goal off the upright and crossbar! Ultimately, though, Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong just didn't have it in him. (NOTE: Nebraska miraculously found a quarterback with worse mechanics than Taylor Martinez. It's like Bo Pelini exclusively recruits guys who throw like Hunter Pence.)
Final score Michigan State 27, Nebraska 22, and don't look now, but Michigan State is a month's worth of SEC West cannibalism from being back in the driver's seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
So that was it, a PHENOMENAL DAY of college football, there were twists, turns, and....wait, WHAT?!? THERE'S MORE?!? Yes, THERE WAS MORE!! If this blog post is starting to feel like one of those long form commercials for stuff like the Flowbee or that nuclear nose hair trimmer, where they just keep piling free shit on for the entirety of the two minutes, that's EXACTLY how Saturday felt.
"And that's not all!! You'll also get UCLA getting knocked from the ranked of the undefeated by UTAH!!!"
"....wait, THAT'S NOT ALL EITHER!! You'll get Cal and Washington State in a game with almost no defense, in which the team who had the quarterback who threw for a record 734 yards actually LOSE THE GAME on a missed 19 yard field goal!!!"
"....wait, THAT'S NOT ALL EITHER!! NO NOT EVEN CLOSE!! You will also get a Katy Perry near ass shot while she stage dives off a bar in Oxford!!!!"
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And I got nothing else. Hopefully, you're just as exhausted reading and watching all that as I was from the three foot area of my couch that I never left in Saturday.
We have nine more weeks of this.