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The Good, Bad and Ugly of College Football Saturday

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The ugly was the virus. Again.

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NCAA Football: Boise State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Hi.

You’re well aware by now that the Washington State Cougars did not play the California Golden Bears on Saturday afternoon, due to, well...

I mean, on the one hand, we didn’t have to sit through 210 minutes of pain, waiting to see what hideous Cal ending would befall us. On the other hand, it almost seems like just when we think we’ve reached the peak of Cal nonsense, the football gods find a way to double down. Such is life in 2020, I guess.

Athletic Director Patrick Chun was outwardly magnanimous and diplomatic as one would expect, but I’m guessing he and much of the rest of the athletic staff are pretty pissed off about how this went down.

It all sucks. Sucks for the players and their families, sucks for the coaches and sucks for the fans. Nick Rolovich is going to end the most difficult year of his coaching career - past and future - having coached all of (hopefully!) four games. It can not be easy to keep these guys focused and motivated at this point, so hats off to Rolo and his staff.

So, now what? Apparently we can’t even get a good answer on that. The USC Trojans closed out the UCLA Bruins in dramatic fashion to improve to 5-0, meaning they’ll represent the Pac-12 South in the conference championship game. Who will they face? We don’t really know! It’s supposed to be the Washington Huskies, but they seem likely to cancel. The Oregon Ducks would take their place.

Regardless of their opponent, there is no Pac-12 North champion this season. There is only the least crappy team. So congrats on that, whoever gets to play USC. As for the rest of the games, those matchups should be set some time on Sunday, despite what formerly-credible clown prince of Pac-12 reporting would like to tell you.

Good job, good effort.

The guess here is that WSU will playing the Stanford Vagabonds, as they continue their Pacific Northwest barnstorming tour. The hope? Well, the hope is that the Arizona Wildcats are on the docket, but god forbid we get what we want.

But even though we saw yet another WSU game get guillotined, there was lots more action on the college gridiron this weekend, so let’s make fun of all those who deserve it.

The Good

Football in the snow will never be anything but the best. First, from Boulder:

Next, let’s go east to Laramie.

Lastly, let’s take you to Iowa City, where my Iowa Hawkeyes won their sixth consecutive game and stocked the trophy case to the gills.

While WSU’s spot in the rivalry trophy case sees nothing but dust, Iowa’s is home to the Cy-Hawk (Iowa State), Floyd of Rosedale (Minnesota), Heartland (Wisconsin) and Heroes (Nebraska). Not too shabby.

Congratulations to Sarah Fuller, the first female in history to score a point in a college football game. One thing I noticed, though: When Vanderbilt kicked a 39-yard field goal, it was someone named Pierson Cooke. Why didn’t Fuller kick it? Oh well.

There are kickout blocks, and there are KICKOUT BLOCKS.

As great as that block was, it also provided another A-1 #pac12refs moment. Earlier in the game, they flagged a USC player for taunting when he stepped over an opponent. UCLA players does the same exact thing and...nada.

USC’s receivers are a cheat code.

The most impressive part about that play was London losing the ball but regaining possession despite two UCLA players being right on top of him. Not to be outdone, Tyler Vaughns was up next.

But anyway those were JV grabs compared to this one.

This is flat out amazing.

Trolling Nebraska and its snake oil salesman of an AD will always get props in this space.

EDIT: Noooooooooo! They deleted it!

Luckily the internet never forgets.

Those crafty cadets and their signs!

Possibly the greatest “no context” of all time:

It sucks that Arkansas was the latest Alabama murder victim, but let’s pour one out for the guy/gal with the keys to the Twitter account.

The Bad

Stewart Mandel is a smart guy who graduated from Northwestern, where courses in science and logic are apparently not in the curriculum.

SPECIAL TEAMS BUFFOONERY IS BACK!

I’ve watched 1000s of hours of college football in my life, but I have never seen this.

Turns out that’s a penalty! Not just any penalty, though. Wisconsin was awarded the ball at the spot of the foul. That seems overly punitive.

EVACUATE THE DANCE FLOOR! I’M INFECTED BY THE SOUND! (and my impending firing/buyout) BUT MOSTLY THE SOUND.

There were some sore punting legs in Iowa City on Saturday night.

Also from Iowa City, maybe let’s not pull this bush league garbage next time.

Later on, we saw Ihmir Smith-Marsette wearing a walking boot, the result of an ankle injury he sustained on that flip because just scoring a touchdown and celebrating with your teammates isn’t enough for some people.

The Ugly

I wasn’t involved in Navy’s game planning this week, but I’m going out on a limb and guessing that this isn’t how the coaches envisioned things going.

The 10th-ranked Miami Hurricanes were playing for a likely spot in the Orange Bowl on Saturday. All they needed was a win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. Let’s see how things played out.

Ok but Miami is pretty explosive, so they were able to keep it close despite the humiliating numbers on defense, right?

Oh.

Remember that Arkansas tweet above? That’s how you do it. This is not.

As Sherwood said in our Slack, you gotta feel really bad for the poor player whose image was pasted next to that score. Hasty research indicated it is defensive back Lorenzo Burns. Regrettably, the tweet has since been deleted.

Let’s check in on the Mike Leach era at Mississippi State. How are things going in Starkville?

The twerp in the black hoodie is lucky he escaped with his face intact. Meanwhile, Mississippi State’s head coach is taking the mounting losses and offensive ineptitude in stride like he always has.

When you don’t want to answer questions about the garbage offense for which you are responsible, build a strawman at a reporter’s expense. So very #onbrand. In case you were wondering, Mississippi State owns the nation’s 117th-ranked scoring offense.

The Hilarious

You probably saw the highlights of the Florida player throwing an LSU player’s shoe, which handed the Tigers a first down and kept alive a drive that ended with the winning points for the heavy underdog Tigahs. The internet was ready and waiting for this moment. First up, let’s get the proper technical explanation.

By far, the greatest part of the announcement is when the referee specifies the distance that the shoe traveled. Like, would it have been a flag if the shoe had only gone 10 yards?

PFT guy has a point here, folks.

Florida alumnus Spencer Hall was not about to be outdone.

Finally, let’s have a look at the net result of this idiotic decision.

You have so much to be proud of, Florida Gators. Not only did you self-sabotage a chance to go to the CFP, you did it by losing as a 23.5-point favorite to an LSU team that gave up on the season weeks ago. Hell of a way to end 2020.

Football

'2020 football in a nutshell.' Washington State-Cal canceled 90 minutes before kickoff due to Golden Bears' COVID-19 issues | The Spokesman-Review
About 90 minutes before the Cougars and Golden Bears were supposed to kick off on a snowy afternoon in Pullman, the game was canceled due to Cal not meeting the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available as a result of COVID-19.

John Blanchette: Washington State-Cal cancellation should be final act of Pac-12 season | The Spokesman-Review
On Friday, the conference will – COVID willing – stage its championship game, pitting South Division champ USC against North Division champ TBD.

This Week in Parenting

Got some great news late last week when we learned that the nine year-old’s school would be closed this upcoming week due to positive COVID tests. And by “great” I mean the exact opposite of that. Apparently the preceding nine months caught the school off guard, as they won’t be prepared to go to online learning until Wednesday. Incredible.

On the home front, the Christmas season is stressful for nearly all involved, and not even Charlie the Elf is immune.

I had to go through a largely pointless Chem Warfare training class this week, which meant that I had to check out all kinds of gear in order to attend. Before I turned it back in, I mentioned to the boys that I had it in the car. They insisted on giving it a try.

Never thought they’d be so thrilled to play a round of “How to Survive a Sarin Gas Attack” but here we are.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: A nice shipment of rare beers came from Omnipollo this week, and among them was Four Roses Barrel-Aged Coconut Stout. That’s a long way of saying “heaven in a bottle.”

Best Cities for Beer Drinkers - 2020 Edition - SmartAsset
SmartAsset found the best cities for beer drinkers by comparing cities across metrics related to breweries, bars and the cost of a pint.

Non-Sports

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Taking Risks During the Pandemic — ProPublica
Experts who study the way we think and make decisions say that it can be more than politics driving our decision-making this year. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic undermines how we process information and assess risk. Need proof? Look around.