Zapruder Analysis of the "Wives of the SEC" Feature on GameDay
Screenshot from GameDay's YouTube page
ESPN's College GameDay is the gold standard for preview/studio shows. While I state this as opinion, by almost any statistical measurement, it is practically fact.
The show attracts a couple million viewers every Saturday morning, draws another several thousand to whatever venue the traveling roadshow brings the circus to each week, and generally calibrates the topical college football discussion for every Saturday in the fall. It is essentially a living, breathing organism.
It's become so successful through the years that it's evolved into a three-hour show, so there is a ton of content, most of it really, really good.
Saturday's show was done live from Columbia, South Carolina, in advance of the Missouri-South Carolina game, and the most discussed feature, without a doubt, was this six-minute video about the life of a coach's wife in the SEC:
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This feature was so compelling, it deserves a Zapruder breakdown! Congrats, Feature! Let's do this...
0:04 -- The GameDay crew is live in Columbia, South Carolina, and Chris Fowler is giving the "Behind every good man, there's a good woman" speech, which he should definitely be doing since he's married to former fitness model Jennifer Dempster, who used to be a staple in the '90s on the Body Shaping show. (NOTE: In the pre-Internet days, when nudity was an expensive commodity, Body Shaping served as a cheap -- and slightly more clothed -- alternative to magazines or pay-per-view adult features on cable. If you were at or past puberty in the early '90s, you know I'm right.)
0:44 -- YES!! Kristi Malzahn sighting!! If you're not familiar with her, she is the slightly deranged wife of Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. She first made her mark on the Internet in this sit-down interview with some television pastor a few years ago:
Seriously, Kristi Malzahn's presence almost assures that the floor on this feature is like a B+. This is all good news.
0:45 -- Admittedly, Kristi Malzahn is the only SEC wife I would recognize if I ran into her at the grocery store
presumably filling a prescription for some sort of medication.
0:47 -- YIKES! I don't know whose wife that is, but whichever coach it is, he clearly has an endorsement contract with a Botox center.
0:48 -- Gators diamond necklace...so that must be Mrs. Will Muschamp, which means you'll be able to buy that exact necklace off of eBay in about three months, since that's likely about the amount of time Muschamp has remaining as head coach at Florida.
0:52 -- Wow, Bret Bielema's collar is getting worn down by his jowls. If his collar were a football defender, it would have his hands on his hips and would be sucking wind.
1:00 -- Mrs. Les Miles has kind of a Miss Gulch from The Wizard of Oz feel, only if Gulch were now totally happy, satisfied with herself as a person, and actually enjoyed the company of children and small pets (instead of, you know, trying to kidnap them).
1:09 -- Dan Mullen's wife, Megan, says the life of a coach's wife is "crazy and nutty," which I'm sure it is. Also, take note (as you will be told about the difficulty of "the life" a couple more times) that she is one of what I'm assuming are 14 SEC wives (or however many of these head coaches have wives) who have massive gourmet kitchens and dining rooms that make a five-star hotel look like a greasy spoon. It's a hard-knock life, but it does come with granite countertops. So there's that. (To Megan Mullen's credit, she also says, "It's awesome." And that's with a husband who just finally won a big game in conference for the first time in like five years a week ago!)
1:31 -- Old school footage of Steve Spurrier accepting the Heisman! (Guaranteed a ton of viewers just learned that Spurrier won a Heisman back in the day.) And here's the kicker -- he was married when he won it! (Honestly, getting married that young would be reason enough for me not to vote for him.)
1:43 -- Old-school Nick Saban picture, with lamb chop sideburns! Also, he roped in his wife when she was 19 years old. Nick, you old DAWG, you!
2:08 -- Nick Saban is seen cracking a joke at his coach's radio show with the energetic delivery of the Joshua computer in War Games, and attributes the punch line to his wife, Jerri, who outs him and says, "No, I didn't say that." See, kids! LIAR! Nick Saban is a LIAR! Do you want to play for a guy who LIES!?! (NOTE: Notre Dame and Alabama are in on several of the same recruits this season. Total coincidence.)
2:18 -- Outside shot of Bret Bielema's 10,000-square-foot palace. He went 3-9 last season.
2:36 -- Jen Bielema close up, and it's clear...Bret Bielema is a strong recruiter.
2:42 -- Okay, Bret Bielema met his wife at a blackjack table and taught her how to play the game. Not only is he my favorite college football coach, I officially hope that he and Jen adopt me. I'm older than both of them, so would that be weird? I hope not.
3:09 -- Miles' family kitchen. Stainless steel sub-zee's, hard wood throughout.
3:41 -- They show a close-up of a text conversation between Les Miles and his wife, and if you don't think I paused that video to see what the exchange included, then you don't know me at all. While I can't say I was disappointed, I can say I was a little surprised that there were no emojis. Les strikes me as a "thumbs up" emoji guy for "OK" and a "crying, smiley face" emoji guy for when he thinks something is funny.
4:00 -- Okay, Megan Mullen just showed up at practice and brought their kid and their dog. The kid is behaving fine, but the dog is acting like it drank a bowl full of Red Bull and ate a brick of cocaine.
4:19 -- And now Megan Mullen is giving pep talks to some of the players. She is slowly veering out of her lane. Can we get back to the dog? I need to see if he's gnawing on the equipment manager's leg.
4:40 -- Good, Kristi Malzahn sighting. More of her, and maybe we can do a pet exchange where she has to dog-sit for the Mullens. Can we make this happen, Mike Slive?
4:51 -- Mrs. Muschamp clearly got that upper lip done when Will was still toiling as a position coach somewhere. It's a little crooked, and a lot obvious. Head coach's salary would've yielded a much more subtle outcome by a more seasoned, expensive "specialist."
5:26 -- Our first look at Mark Richt's wife, who apparently mixes the Powerade for the Georgia Bulldog football team, stirring it like a witch's cauldron. It's not clear if she enjoys doing this or if she is doing it under direct orders from Richt.
5:35 -- They show various wives and what their daily "process" is in-game, like where they sit and with whom, and all I can think is "It must've sucked being Jen Bielema and sitting with people at the games last season while Arkansas was losing nine games in a row, knowing everyone with you thinks your husband is a dope."
6:00 -- Kristi Malzahn sits in a room by herself, which I totally respect. Also, I would pay at least five grand to sit in that room with her during the Iron Bowl. I think there's a 50/50 chance we'd end up chugging from a beer bong at some point.
6:13 -- Kristi and Gus go to Waffle House after a win. Tradition. Okay, now I want the Malzahns to adopt me as well.
7:20 -- Back to the GameDay crew, where Corso says he has an idea for a TV show -- "Housewives of the Southeastern Conference" -- and acts like he'd just discovered fire, when in fact about 100,000 people on Twitter had tweeted the exact same thing two minutes into the feature.
Final rankings of the couples features:
8. MUSCHAMP (for obvious reasons) 7. RICHT (for making his wife stir vats of Powerade) 6. SPURRIER (for getting married as a Heisman winner) 5. SABAN (for duping a 19-year-old into marriage) 4. MULLEN (can't decide if their dog helps or hurts their ranking) 3. MILES (this ranking is all Les) 2. MALZAHN (this ranking is all Kristi) 1. BIELEMA (blackjack rendezvous a huge difference maker)
(H/T The Big Lead)