It's come to this: ESPN's College GameDay is so bereft of anything substantive, it's the commercials that fill the void.
Then again, this commercial for Flomax doesn't seem to apply to the age 18 to 34 demographic.
Flomax, it seems, can assist urinary-tract-afflicted GameDay viewers who suffer from the symptoms of "incomplete emptying." However, the side effects of Flomax, it seems, are: 1) Runny nose 2) Dizziness 3) Decrease in semen.
Ah, yes ... semen decrease ... it certainly takes ya back to the days before there was a GameDay ... back to the days when there wasn't a Conference USA football game on a Sunday night and a WAC matchup on a Wednesday night ... back to the days when we spent our Saturday afternoons engulfed in college football and our Saturday nights enveloped in the inner thigh of a brunette or a blonde (usually a brunette) and not terribly concerned about related semen levels.
Thanks for taking the fun out of college football for us, Flomax ... and GameDay.
GameDay gets mighty predictable when it's Fowler, Grandpa and Herb Kirkstreit each week sitting in front of a backdrop of rowdies waving that flag with that WSU-cougar-head-shaped logo or someone holding a sign which reads: "CORSO DEPLETES MY SEMEN."
Sure was better back in the old days when Trev Alberts was the college football mega-hunk at ESPN ... mind you, a mega-hunk who won an award as the nation's top linebacker -- not a hunk who was the holder on placekicks for Tim Williams at Ohio State.
The only way to save GameDay now would be to bring back Beano Cook for a segment where we watch him moments after he's washed down a prune danish with a glass of Metamucil and we await the "outcome."
Instead, this is what The Espy Award Network is serving up: Pusberger, Davie and Herbie on that AstroTurf stage, chatting up the Ohio State-Michigan game to be played two weeks from now.
Shouldn't the conversation be about the Ohio State-Michigan rematch on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Arizona?
Shouldn't someone be interviewing USC QB John David Booty and asking him if he's excited to be playing in the BCS title game on Jan. '08?
Does Booty Call think Troy has what it takes to beat the Cal Bears in the rematch of the thrilling 'SC win in Berkeley two months earlier?
See? No sooner do we castigate ESPN for sloppy/lazy indiscretions than the network's college football "reporter" Joe Schad makes a cameo and informs us that Wake Forest linebacker Jon Abbate and his teammates will hold up five fingers at the beginning of the fourth quarter tonight against Boston College -- a tribute to Jon's younger brother who died.
That's some slip-Schad reporting by Joltin' Joe, considering that he failed to inform America how exactly Jon Abbate's brother died, be it pancreatic cancer or snowmobile accident.
The Espy Award Network could've scored big points by A) Instructing Joe Schad to take 15 extra seconds to add context or B) Compiling a five-minute feature.
Instead, the network opts to have Grandpa acting like an ass as we use the remote to click to Animal Planet.
(FYI: USA Today's Kelly Whiteside wrote a solid feature in September -- ding, ding, ding, there's the tardy bell, Joe Schad -- on Abbate and Ole Miss LB Patrick Willis re: the recent deaths of their younger brothers. The reason that Joe Schad doesn't have any details to share is because he's too busy using that Will McDonough/Peter King tactic of "So-and-so told me ..." to put himself into the story ... i.e. when Oklahoma tailback Adrian Peterson broke his collarbone against Iowa State a few weeks ago, Schad repeatedly attempted to make up for his decreased semen level beginning sentences with, "Coach Bob Stoops TOLD ME ..." -- a ploy which, when overused, comes off sounding like, "Coach Stoops told me that it's almost three o'clock ..." or "Stoops told me that this soup is hot ..." or "Stoops told me that Oklahoma's school colors are crimson and cream ...")
Bottom line: Joe Schad forgot to say that college football fans are willing to TELL HIM that he's a complete tool.
And that he suffers from incomplete emptying.
Oh, how we miss you, Dr. Jerry Punch.
It's the children who suffer. To think of all the kids, aged 10 thru 15, on the West Coast who crawl outta bed at 8 a.m. to get the skinny on all the big games -- and all they get is three carnival hucksters ... and then TV pitchmen peddling semen-savers.
Also, with Herb Kirkstreit persisting to allow his preseason BCS title-game prediction of Miami-Notre Dame cloud his judgement, it seems as though America, more than ever, needs Pitchfork Pigskin Prognostication.
Everybody else is doin' it.
This is for the kids.
Before GameDay (or the Feds) steal their semen and alter their emptying-completion percentages
Let's peek at 10 games of special interest:
LSU at Tennessee -- There's only one way to view today's Game of the Week -- while wearing the gray LSU Football t-shirt and a backwards-turned black Vols cap w/ the orange Power T.
Not everyone outside of Haystack Headquarters owns such apparel, so the only other option is to arm oneself with the truth. And, that is: LSU is one fragile road team (as losses at Auburn and Florida indicated).
Also, that 30-27 OT loss at home to the Vols last year (after blowing a 21-0 lead) might be weighing on the Bayou Bengals' minds, notwithstanding the INT thrown by Erik Ainge that looked like a Danny Ainge/no-look pass from his own end zone which Kenneth Hollis returned for a 3-yard TD and that 21-point lead.
For those of us who were watching, jeez ... that was horrid.
Since JaMarcus Russell is so scatter-armed in big games, LSU should dial up the formula which then-coach Nick Saban used in the 2001 SEC title game.
On that occasion, a white QB named "Matt" came off the bench and replaced the black QB, leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind victory which squashed the Vols' shot at Miami in the BCS title game.
Okay, so "back then" it was Rohan Davey's injury which precipitated the need to bring in Santa Claus, Indiana-native Matt Mauck.
This time, coach Les Miles will probably keep Matt Flynn on the sideline and go with Russell, come hell or high water.
Since LSU is good for a few inexcusable turnovers, expect the hell AND the high water.
Tennessee 23, LSU 14
North Carolina at Notre Dame -- The only reason to feature a UNC vs. UND game is because it reminds us that we NEEDED this matchup 10 years ago ... when the Tar Heel center was Jeff Saturday (the guy who has Peyton Manning's hands between his legs every Sunday) and the Farting Irish had a linebacker named Jimmy Friday.
This nation needed the UNC center to provide a critical lead block on the ND LB, just so we could all leap from our seats and yell, "Did you see that?! Saturday just knocked the crap outta Friday!"
There's about a dozen plays-on-words for the confrontation that never was, but was always meant to be.
"Saturday came ready for Saturday which is why Friday shoulda spent Friday getting ready for Saturday because now he'll spend all Sunday recovering from what Saturday did to him on Saturday."
Ya gotta love that ... but there's nuthin' to love about THIS matchup. The last time ND played at home, the Frickin' Irish were nearly upset by a team with baby-blue as one of its school colors.
ND won't powder this powder-blue opponent -- because Charlie Weis' unstoppable killing machine usually does the bare minimum against unranked foes.
Ho-hum ... just stay on track for the trip to Cali.
UND 30, UNC 13
USC at Stanford -- GameDay would LOVE to give America at least 10 or 15 more feature stories on "What Makes Pete Carroll Tick?" and "How Will John David Booty Bounce Back?"
In fact, during the final GameDay installment late, late, late last Sat., Mark May and Lispy McMushmouth (read: Holtz) killed three or four minutes standing on the GameDay set, givin' America the X's and O's of Booty's 2-point conversion pass which Oregon State batted down in the final seconds of the Beavers snatching that 33-31 victory.
Overlooking 'SC's four turnovers and the punt-return breakdown which gave OSU a 33-10 lead, Lispy McMushmouth provided tips as to how to block a D-lineman in case you, a civilian, is ever confronted by a Beaver with cruel intentions.
What a waste of time.
What might've better suited a info-tainment paradigm would've been if Lispy Lou had diagrammed how he got the NCAA to levy sanctions against his programs at Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina.
Given time, Lispy Lou will get GameDay put on probation (we hope, we hope, we hope).
Anyway, 'SC's Corvallis conk-out spelled the end of Troy's 38-game regular-season win streak; 27-game Pac-10 win streak; 18-game road win streak; 18-game October win streak; and 13-game Pac-10 road win streak.
Five impressive streaks down the drain.
However, one remained alive -- 'SC's streak of scoring at least 20 points was extended to 59 consecutive games vs. OSU.
Which means that against the Cardinal (0-8), Troy can make it a nice, round 60.
Although this matchup has all the earmarkings of 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and 35-0 at halftime, Carroll might leave a little something in the tank for the following two Saturdays when he's playing Oregon and Cal in the Coliseum.
Stanford, on the other hand, is a shoo-in for its first winless season since the 0-10 campaign of 1960. Darn shame, too, considering that no longer do the Cardinal play before 25,000 fans in an 86,000-seat stadium built in the 1920s.
Now, with a completely new 50,000-seat stadium, anywhere from 17,000 to 23,000 fans can stretch out in comfy chairs rather than rock-hard, pain-in-the-ass (literally) aluminum bench seats.
Moreover, Walt Harris doesn't waste the fans' time by coaching up the god-awful players which predecessor Buddy Teevens recruited. In fact, in Stanford's previous home game (a 20-7 loss to Arizona on Oct. 14 when the Cardinal amassed 17 yards of total offense through the first three quarters), our Haystack correspondent/good-buddy "Gianni" was on the way home from the game 2 1/2 hours after the opening kickoff.
Two-and-a-half hours ... that's less time than Greg Maddux, in his prime, needed to toss a shutout.
And, 'SC seems poised for a shutout, given that QB Trent Edwards broke his foot in that loss to 'Zona and backup T.C. Ostrander, who prepped two miles from the Stanford campus, is just hoping that he makes it to The Big Game in one piece.
So that Cal can break him into little pieces.
USC 40, Stanford 7
Penn State at Wisconsin -- This alleged Big 11 Game of the Week in MadTown figures to be a bloodbath to determine who plays in Orlando on New Year's Day (in the Capital One Bowl vs. LSU/Auburn/Florida)and who plays in Tampa on New Year's Day (in the Outback Bowl vs. LSU/Auburn/Florida).
However, this also figures to be a vintage 6-3 halftime score with a 17-13 final score.
Which team will have the 17 and which one will finish with 13 seems like an interchangable concept.
The Badgers seem most-likely to procure those 17 points -- and if so, that's nice for those of us who either are the sons of Wisconsin alums or who own four Wisconsin sweatshirts (bonus points for those of us who fit into both categories).
With games remaining at Iowa and at home vs. Buffalo, Wisconsin has a realistic chance of going 11-1 for the first time since 1998 when the Badgers went to consecutive Rose Bowls with Ron Dayne.
The thing is, this Badger team -- under first-year coach Bret Bielema and behind the steady, unspectacular play of QB John Stocco and the soda-machine-sized freshman RB P.J. Hill -- seems destined for Florida and not one of the 10 slots in the five BCS bowl-game pairings.
In its eight victories, Wisconsin is winning by an average score of 35-11, so, yes ... the Badgers are one of the 8-1 teams (the proverbial "one-loss wonders" which GameDay refuses to talk about).
Just for fun, you'd wish that GameDay would break out that rare footage of when Ohio State played at Camp Randall Stadium (either in '90 or '92) and Herb Kirkstreit was nailed in the shoulder with what appeared to be a tomato.
Unless that projectile was actually a balloon filled with real Badger blood.
At any rate, Wisconsin ain't laughing about the prospect of the loser of the Ohio State-Michigan game being a lock for the Rose Bowl. So, unless something crazy happens, the Badgers had better pack their Bermuda shorts and flip flops and expect to spend New Year's Day in Orlando defending their Capital One title.
"What's in YOUR wallet?"
On the other hand, Joe Pa (6-3 this season)REALLY needs this one because, despite notching his 360th career win last week (with a 12-0 victory at Purdue, culminated by the Bumblermakers lateraling the ball 116 times on the game's final play), he's 2-4 all-time in lesser bowls played in Florida (losing Blockbuster Bowls in Tampa at the end of the '90 and '92 seasons, but winning in that city in the '99 Outback Bowl ...winning the Citrus Bowl at the end of the '93 season, losing the Citrus Bowl at the end of the '97 season and losing the Capital One Bowl at the end of the '02 season -- after everybody spent '00 and '01 and most of '03 and '04 saying "Paterno is finished").
Joe Pa, who turns 80 in Dec., has at least seven or eight quality years remaining on the PSU sideline.
Today won't be one of those quality moments.
The Badgers out-ugly the Nits.
Wisconsin 17, Penn St. 13
Oklahoma at Texas A&M -- What a rotten/pathetic/feeble/sorry-assed conference. We're almost at the stage in the Big XII where it might be fun if 1-8 Colorado was granted a special exemption to represent the North Division in the Big XII title game, just to see if the Buffs could avenge the title-game deaths of the '04 Buffs team which lost 49-7 to Oklahoma and last year's version of Ralphie droppings was drubbed, 70-3, by Texas.
Get this: In the 10 years of Big XII title games, only SIX of the 12 teams have played in those championship games (Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado four times each; K-State thrice; and Texas A&M twice).
Take a bow, Texas Tech, Okie State, Baylor, Iowa State, Mizzou and The Potential Angina That Is Mark Mangino.
Still, that hasn't stopped that lovable collie, Reveille, from peeing on the Sooner Schooner when it stops at College Station ever since the calendar flipped to 2000.
During OU's run to the national championship in '00, the Sooners needed two late TDs to upend the upset-minded Ags, 35-31. Two years later, A&M knocked off the No. 1-ranked Sooners, 30-26, and took OU out of the national championship picture.
After OU dished out that 77-0 spanking of the Ags during Dennis Franchione's rookie year in College Station ('03), the Ags blew a 28-14 lead against the No. 2-ranked Sooners, en route to a 42-35 loss.
In each of those close calls, A&M had QBs (be it Mark Farris or Reggie McMcNeal) who could pass well enough to exploit a suspect Sooner secondary.
The OU DBs aren't significantly better than in years past (see: what Oregon did in Sept. to the Sooners), so it's up to soph. Stephen McGee to do the carving.
Although he's thrown only one interception this season in 225 attempts, it's difficult to get a gauge on McGee or the Aggies (8-1). After all, this is a team which spent Sept. bludgeoning the Citadel, Louisiana-Lafayette, Army and Louisiana Tech before winning Big XII squeakers against the aforementioned perennial also-rans (Kansas, Mizzou, Okie State, Baylor).
McGee had mixed results in the game in Norman last year -- a game which the Aggies trailed, 28-7, in the first quarter before falling, 36-30.
McGee came in midway through the third quarter and ran the ball well with QB keepers for gains of 11, 12, 9 and 14 yards as he directed two field-goal drives.
However, McGee was 0 of 6 passing and was sacked on a third-down play in the red zone.
Meanwhile, if Stoops' Troops are planning to point the Sooner Schooner in the direction of San Diego (and just mayyyyybe a rematch with Oregon -- not only last year's Holiday Bowl foe, but the villain in "The Obscene In Eugene" from two months ago), they'll need steady efforts from QB Paul Thompson and The New A.P.
All right, so Allen Patrick isn't Adrian Peterson ... heck, he might not even be the second coming of Kejuan Jones. But, for those of us who'd've loved this matchup 30 years ago when it would've been Elvis Peacock vs. Bubba Bean, Patrick -- in two games -- has proved tough between the tackles with reasonable explosiveness.
Classify the junior as something between a Horace Ivory and a De'Mond Parker.
Oklahoma 24, Texas A&M 13
Oklahoma State at Texas -- Have the 'Pokes learned how to hook the 'Horns after what transpired in the past two UT-OSU slugfests? Two years ago, a shocker was in the works when OSU built a 35-7 lead with a minute to play until halftime -- then lost, 56-35.
Last year, many of us were watching this game on TBS when that poor OSU DB got himself airborne on the Vince Young scramble-and-pump-fake -- and then In-Vince-able took off on that 80-yard TD run to begin the comeback from a 28-12 halftime deficit.
Final: Texas, 47-28.
Cumulatively, that's a 77-0 scoring margin in the second half of those contests.
While the 'Horns no longer have the young Vince Young, this young colt named "Colt" is panning out.
Colt McCoy was a cool customer last week as classic underachiever Texas Tech built a 21-0, first-quarter lead and a 31-21 halftime edge behind the passing of Graham Harrell.
Right where they wanted 'em in the 35-31 win.
Ease up, Lubbockites. Mike Leach is no Spike Dykes and, although you're a football school (in theory), Bob Knight is going to break Dean Smith's all-time career wins record before your TTU football fraud is pummeled in the Insight/Independence Bowl.
That's something to look forward to.
Wait ... how'd we get to talkin' 'bout Red Raider sports?
Oh yeah ... 'cuz Okie State is roadkill.
Texas 33, Okie State 14
Boston College at Wake Forest -- The Eagles are annoying with their black socks and black cleats, mostly because they wear the baby black socks with the black cleats, as opposed to teams such as Notre Shame, which wears the knee-high black socks with black cleats.
That's always a bad look. Black cleats are acceptable when the white markings of a logo are present AND with white laces.
Like 'SC from the '70s and '80s.
The all-black footwear ... that's for your Grandpa or that loser down the street when he's mowing his lawn.
That's why BC is unwatchable.
That ... and the Eagles are kinda boring.
Still, Joe Schad has some two-month old "breaking" news for us about this Jon Abbate situation.
Or so he told us.
Wake Forest 23, Boston College 22
Well, that's it for now.
Seven games? Wasn't it supposed to be 10?
Ummmmmm ... kickoff time is nigh.
And, this incomplete emptying is not coinciding with the semen depletion.
That's a touchback ... ball at the 20 ...