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The Good, Bad and Ugly of College Football Saturday

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The SEC is back, and so is Mike Leach

Texas v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Good morning. That was quite a day, wasn’t it? Ok, most of the craziness was confined to part of the day, but Saturday felt like college football was fully back for the first time. Yes, I realize this isn’t technically the case in this bizarre year, but there were “big boy” matchups throughout the afternoon, and I was finally flipping furiously between channels in hopes that I wouldn’t miss anything. However, the perils of living on the other side of the Atlantic often catch up around midnight, which leaves us to piece together the overnight hours via social media, Slack chat and SportsCenter. Let’s go.

The Good

  • How can we start anywhere but with a familiar face? Many people, including yours truly, figured that this would be a rough season for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, for many reasons. First, the Air Raid isn’t exactly an easy offense to master early on, as we saw in 2012. Then there’s the fact that Leach did not have any spring practice, setting the Bulldogs even further behind. While he did have a veteran quarterback in KJ Costello, it wasn’t like KJ had set the world on fire with the Stanford Cardinal. Quite the opposite, actually.

Finally, Mississippi State was facing the defending national champion LSU Tigers right out of the gate. Not exactly a recipe for success. Turns out none of that mattered.

Now, of course there are some caveats that came with this win. First, LSU had one, one (!!!) starter back on defense from last year. Their new QB is about as far from Joe Burrow as one could be, and they also lost nearly every other weapon on offense. Costello went through a second half stretch in which it seemed like he had LSU -14, but resident maniac/new LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini gave the Bulldogs an assist because he apparently watched zero video of Leach offenses. It all added up to a Mississippi State win, summed up thusly:

LSU’s loss was the first season-opening defeat as national champion since the Michigan Wolverines lost their first game in 1998, and it came at home, by double digits, at the hands of the guy who resurrected Washington State Cougars football from the grave. Caveats or not, that’s a damn impressive way to start a new tenure.

A couple other quick-hitters from this game that made me laugh:

Pretty wild Venn Diagram here:

The fact that he referred to it as “LSU stadium” should tell you right away that Mr. Landry needs to not tweet.

  • MOAR CATCHES

Somehow, this amazing grab was like the fifth best of the day.

We’re just getting started here. NOW PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR FOR DDDDEEEEJAAAAAAY STUBBS ON THE ONES AND TWOS!

It wasn’t all bad in Baton Rouge.

The Georgia Southern Eagles are known as a run first, second and third team, which makes this all the more impressive.

Finally, there is a 100% chance this clip below will appear on “You Got Moss’d” Sunday morning.

That Seth Williams catch and celebration is outstanding on many fronts. First, he just beasts the poor DB, then he flexes, then he plows over the unwitting camera person. I’m also setting the over/under on celebration flags #Pac12refs would have thrown there at 2.5, and I’m taking the over.

  • Something I haven’t found myself saying in a long time is, “Man, the Florida Gators have some weapons on offense.” Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels learned that the hard way Saturday, and principle among the Gator stars was a guy named Kyle Pitts. Dude is a dude.
  • How ‘bout those Kansas State Wildcats! For the second year in a row, they were 20+ point underdogs to the Oklahoma Sooners. For the second year in a row, they emerged victorious, this time on the road, while missing seven players from the two-deep due to COVID-related issues. Hot. Damn.

Here was the mortar round that provided the winning points.

As my man Bill Raftery would say, ONIONS!

This hideous throw by newly-anointed Sooner QB Spencer Rattler sealed the deal.

Spencer earns some bonus points for the surrender cobra.

  • I don’t know why but this made me laugh.
  • If you tuned into the Tulane Green Wave game against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles after five minutes, you probably would have thought a mild upset was in the making, as underdog Southern Miss had jumped out to a 14-0 lead. The teams would combine for a whopping 76 points after it was 14-0. Just one issue for the Golden Eagles - Tulane scored 66 of ‘em.
  • Shout out to the UTEP Miners! Between 2017 and 2019, UTEP’s record was a ghastly 2-34. After three games this season, they’re 3-1! Ok sure, two of those wins came against FCS teams, and yeah, they barely beat Abilene Christian, but when you’ve been kicked in the pills as often as the Miners, 3-1 is THREE AND GODDAMN ONE.
  • Finally, my friends, this is what we call “steering into the skid.”

Glorious.

The Bad

  • Circling back to Oklahoma for a minute, let’s check in on their CFP hopes:

If you’re into video games, this is probably a better illustration (make sure you have the sound on):

Finally, you may recall that Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator was once in the same position at WSU. You may also recall that more than a few WSU fans wanted to bring him back as HBC after Leach departed. It was hilarious then, and it gets more so by the day.

Did you know there was an Alex Grinch parody account on Twitter because I didn’t!

In fairness to Grinch and the defense, Kansas State averaged a measly 2.5 yards on the ground, and had just 10 first downs for the entire game. Still, giving up 48 and 38 to a, let’s just say, not exactly explosive K-State team and coming away with two losses is pretty embarrassing, Alex, especially for someone earning $140,000 per game this season. Hopefully you aren’t tired after blocking people on Twitter all evening.

  • SPECIAL TEAMS DEBACLES COMIN’ IN HOT

“We’ll see you, and we’ll raise you.” - Special Teams coach, South Carolina Gamecocks, probably.

Out west in Lubbock, there was enough special teams buffoonery to fill an entire season.

BUT WAIT

What is it with onside kicks in Texas lately? Anyway, how did this game play out?

Shot

Chaser

ONE MORE ROUND OVER HERE, ON ME!

  • Touchdown, Eagles! Oh...oh...oh no.
  • Assistant coaches gonna assistant coach!

Come on, man.

The Ugly

  • Can’t really use words to describe the awfulness that you’re about to see.

“Siri, tell that guy he’s full of crap.” - Brock Purdy, probably.

Not to be outdone, Mother Nature would like the final word on that decision. NOTE: Please make sure you have the volume up for this next one. It will make your day.

I’ve watched it at least 10 times and I am still in tears over here.

  • Update from Tallahassee:
  • Remember that picture I chose for the article header? This was the aftermath. Gumby, meet Bijan. Bijan, Gumby.

Thankfully, and almost miraculously, Bijan Robinson popped up and did not appear to be injured.

The Pathetic

Washington Huskies fans, come on down!

I don’t know about you, but my friends and I in the author Slack were anything but “livid.” Matter of fact, we were all quite impressed and pretty happy for what Leach and Co. were doing to LSU. But, uh, continue to live in that world where Apple Cup wins save your season, Husky fans. You’d think they’d be concerned with finding a competent quarterback or trying to figure out how they could do so much better by going independent. Or maybe, just maybe, they could occupy their time by making a list of Chris Petersen’s greatest bowl wins against Power Five teams. Oh, and in case you weren’t aware, Chris Fetters makes a living mostly by texting teenagers at all hours of the day and night.

Bow down indeed.

Football

Washington State AD talks Pac-12 schedule, Quidel testing, gameday logistics | The Spokesman-Review
Call it a return to normalcy.

Canzano: Pac-12 Conference unified football decision is both a beauty and a curse - oregonlive.com
Conference votes to stick together.

Canzano: Questions arise in wake of Pac-12 Conference football decision - oregonlive.com To-do list for conference is a doozy.

This Week in Parenting

The eight year-old cornered me the other night with a request. “Dad, um, I’m trying to think about how to phrase this. [awkward pause] Uhh, so, since we’re gonna be over here for a little while longer, do you care if my brother and I go back to the states to stay with our cousins for a year?” I told him I’d think about it, then said probably not because mom would miss them. Gotta fight fire with fire.

On Saturday, Mrs. Kendall and I headed for the base gym, which I hadn’t been to since the pandemic’s onset (gym guy was in full effect, this time by monopolizing three machines for at least 30 minutes. Definitely missed you, gym guy! You still suck!), but I digress. Now that they’re a bit older, we don’t mind leaving them home by themselves for a couple hours at a time. When we returned, they were watching TV, as we expected. So, what was on the tube? A cartoon? A sporting event? One of the many Marvel movies they have recorded? Oh no. No, they were watching the 1970 production Tora! Tora! Tora! In case your dad or grandpa didn’t pin you down to watch it, it’s a movie about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. No idea what I should think about this.

I Wonder

I wonder, why do so many ATMs truncate to the digits right of the decimal point, instead of starting with the dollars? No ATM in history has ever dispensed change, so why on earth do I have to make those extra key strokes?

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Every summer when I visit Spokane, I drop by JB’s Food and Bottleworks, on the corner of Rowan and Alberta. JB (if that’s the owner’s name) always has some Avery Rumpkin available, and I inevitably snatch one up. I finally cracked it open yesterday, and it was as tremendous as always.

Netflix's Oktoberfest drama tastes like Peaky Blinders plus beer - CNET
Pour a glass of deliciously dark new Netflix show Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood, brewed from lust and murder.

Non-Sports

Set Redesigns, Zoom Auditions, and the Same Host: How ‘Jeopardy!’ Came Back Amid a Pandemic - The Ringer
After shutting down production in March, ‘Jeopardy!’ is finally back with new episodes. What will the celebrated quiz show look like in the time of COVID-19?

Why QAnon Left Reddit - The Atlantic
Two years ago, Reddit had the internet’s biggest QAnon problem. Today, that problem is gone—but the company can’t really explain why.