September 30, 2007

Bring the Pain

OH, WHAT A JOYOUS SATURDAY. There are few things I enjoy more than watching underdogs knock off highly-ranked teams (provided the highly-ranked team is, you know, not Michigan) and so yesterday's college football action was a beautiful thing. Well, actually, it was even better. It wasn't just beautiful in the way a sunrise on a clear day is beautiful, or a pretty girl is beautiful: this was an otherworldly beauty, a Dave Bowman-into-the-monolith beautiful, an angelic beautiful that announces in its terrible and shimmering glory: "Be not afraid."

Let us review the glorious landscape, shall we? (Note: Rankings under 25 are derived from Massey Ratings' composite index).


No. 3 Oklahoma lost to No. 60 Colorado, 27-24
No. 4 Florida lost to No. 37 Auburn, 20-17
No. 5 West Virginia lost to No. 18 South Florida, 21-13 (on Friday
No. 7 Texas lost to No. 57 Kansas State, 41-21
No. 10 Rutgers lost to No. 65 Maryland, 34-24
No. 11 Oregon lost to No. 6 California, 31-24
No. 13 Clemson lost to No. 59 Georgia Tech, 13-3
No. 21 Penn State lost to No. 31 Illinois, 27-20
No. 22 Alabama lost to No. 29 Florida State, 21-14


That's NINE Top 25 teams -- favorites all -- getting knocked on their keisters this weekend -- and five in the Top 10! The teams that managed to win yesterday also didn't have an easy time of it -- No. 1 USC, for instance, only managed to beat No. 41 Washington by three points, and No. 2 LSU struggled with Tulane for a bit, which is pretty pathetic when you consider Tulane is one of the worst teams in college football.

Anyway, I was loving this, even if I did want Minnesota to knock off Ohio State, a task at which they unsurprisingly failed. I mean, where does one begin? At the stroke of midnight, as the college football action faded, I was half expecting a host of cherubim and seraphim to proclaim, "Blessed are the underdogs, for they shall inherit the earth."

But I suppose this depends on one's point of view. After all, Joe Paterno famously dismissed Michigan's loss to Appalachian State with the quip, "I always thought when they put the devil down below, that was one of the great upsets of all time." So not everyone may be as enamored with all this upset talk as I am. Speaking of Mr Scratch, though, I must admit there is an uncharitable side to all my glee.

Simply put, the teams of my enemies have been defeated, and I am glad. I fully admit that, as a Michigan fan, I want them to suffer as I have suffered.

That said, I did not take all that much pleasure in watching Oklahoma lose to Colorado, nor in hearing of Texas' loss to Kansas State. As a Big Ten partisan, I do not wish ill upon the Big 12 Conference and generally like it when their teams, save Nebraska, perform well. This is because the Big 12 serves as a good counterweight to the barbarian and degenerate Southeastern Conference, whose teams I generally despise. (I realize this may seem strange to some of my readers, but as a Northerner and Midwesterner I can assure you this is just one of those regional rivalry things that some coastal residents just don't get).

SEC FAN: Hey! You can't say that about my conference! We're the best in all of college foot--
ME: Not so fast, my friend!
SEC FAN: OUCH! You -- you hit me with a frying pan again! You son of a --

Right! Now, where was I? Ah, yes, the SEC.

How wonderful was it to see cruel Florida get thrown down yesterday? Oh, my! As a matter of course, I don't like Auburn but I was more than happy to root for them against the hated Gators, one of the many Florida teams I despise. Oh, how fabulous it was to see the Swamp get drained, and to behold the suffering of its partisans ("It sucked with the sucking of a thousand burning suns of suck.") May God curse them with 6-6 seasons from here until the end of time!

Also, I don't know how many readers caught the West Virginia-South Florida game on Friday, but that was a glorious and splendid thing. I do not like West Virginia, because they're always overrated and for years have run roughshod over the Big East conference. Also, as my family as roots in western Pennsylvania, I am bound by contract not to like them. So to see a good, upstart football program like South Florida defeat them is fabulous. South Florida is probably the only football team in Florida I like -- they play hard, they've built themselves up from nothing and unlike nearly all the other Florida teams, they're a classy good-hearted bunch.

I was shocked to see Rutgers lost to ... *snicker* *guffaw* ... Maryland. I mean, come on, guys. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rutgers football -- one I daresay every football fan north of the Mason-Dixon shares -- so that was a bit disappointing. I was also not entirely thrilled Clemson lost. I have to say that even though I am not generally a fan of Southern football teams, I do like Clemson and Wake Forest. For one thing, they're in the ACC, which is a far more genteel and upstanding conference than the SEC. For another, they're generally not the best teams in their conference, which puts me in their corner. Plus, Clemson's stadium -- "Death Valley" -- impresses me. (Also, the girls are cute. Which reminds me: how the hell did Florida manage to get all the pretty girls in the front rows and in convenient proximity to the television cameras? They were something -- although as Florida partisans, damaged goods to this Michigan fan. But I digress).

Which leaves us with Penn State and Alabama. I felt bad for Penn State losing to the Fighting Zooks; or rather, I felt bad for my father, who has long rooted for the Nittany Lions. You see, Dad despairs about Penn State's prospects; he fears the team's performance will hurt its recruiting, even though Paterno remains coach. After all, the kids today weren't even born when Penn State enjoyed its glory days, and what do the kids know of Paterno? Still, I have to give credit to Illinois for picking themselves up and building from a perennial doormat to a decent team.

And then, there's Alabama. Truly God is benevolent and merciful, for Alabama has lost two in a row and its evil coach, Nick Saban, has lost two in a row. How I detest Saban -- he of Michigan State infamy. True, the loss was not truly flawless, for the winning team was Florida State, with their stupid tomahawk chop and stupid war chant and thuggish, wretched players. But still -- I will take it. The way I see, Alabama's loss can only be my gain and I am cool with that.

So -- to recap -- this was a weekend in which pretty much everything went great, college-football wise. Oh, joy and rapture. And with Michigan playing its red-headed stepchild from Ypsilanti next week, next week will hopefully go just as well. I am looking forward to it!

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 30, 2007 10:35 AM | TrackBack
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