A 'Star Wars' guide for Will Muschamp
Florida coach Will Muschamp was stumped this week when a reporter asked him a question related to "Star Wars." Muschamp had no idea what a "Padawan" is and admitted to seeing only two of the six "Star Wars" films.
I'm with you, Will. I also have no idea what a Padawan is. In fact, I'm even worse (or perhaps better?). I've seen just one "Star Wars" movie entirely -- "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace." Most of my knowledge of the movies comes entirely from being unable to escape the "Star Wars" influence that appears everywhere in American culture.
With that in mind, I thought it might help Muschamp to have an elementary guide to some major "Star Wars" characters and their college football equivalents.
C-3PO: C-3PO is a gold robot who seems to have a prominent role, but is pretty much ignored. He doesn't really have any special power. Therefore, C-3PO is almost exactly like a program's NCAA compliance director.
"The Force" The Force is a supernatural power that can be used for good or evil. This is exactly what sports coaches and sports media members call "intangibles." Only intangibles are probably even more mysterious and powerful.
Yoda: Yoda is incredibly old and past his prime but considered to be quite wise. Joe Paterno is obviously college football's Yoda.
Chewbacca: Chewbacca is a huge, hairy beast who speaks via grunts and shrieks. He is your average defensive coordinator.
Jabba the Hutt: Jabba the Hutt is a fat, disgusting, greedy, gluttonous thing who is a force for ill. Look at him as a conference commissioner or your program's most "generous" booster.
Jar Jar Binks: Jar Jar Binks is a character who was created to provide humorous appeal to the masses. Unfortunately, everyone hated the thing and it's an embarrassment for everyone involved. The BCS computer is Jar Jar Binks.
Darth Vader: Darth Vader is the primary villain. He seeks to keep evil in place throughout the universe. Think of him as BCS executive director Bill Hancock.
Luke Skywalker: Luke is one of the only beacons of good in a universe bent on destruction. Hopefully you identify with this character, or we're probably going to be hearing about another NCAA scandal soon.
Princess Leia: You'd probably recognize Princess Leia due to her famous hair buns on the side of her head and her metal bikini. Look for Maryland or Oregon to wear something similar to this by the end of the year.
Barf: AKA Barfolomew. Barf is half-man, half-dog played by John Candy. And he's hilarious. He's not exactly in "Star Wars," per se -- he's in a movie called "Spaceballs" and he doesn't really have a college football equivalent. But I just suggest you see "Spaceballs." It's like the CliffsNotes of "Star Wars." But much more entertaining.
Game of the Week
No. 8 Nebraska at No. 7 Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Nebraska and Wisconsin are very similar. They're both undefeated, they both have hopes of winning a national title and they play a similar style. Their uniforms even resemble each other's. All that aside, I think the Badgers will win this game fairly easily. (Unless Nebraska wins, in which case my previous prediction was an absent-minded typo due to the teams' many similarities.)
Another Game of the Week
No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida, 8 p.m. ET on CBS
After further research into the world of "Star Wars," I have found that Muschamp definitely should have been offended by the reporter's question comparing his relationship to Nick Saban as "Master vs. Padawan." Padawans apparently wear a braid, like this. Go ahead and ask Will Muschamp to wear a braid in his hair. See how far you get. The man will melt your face.
Cupcake of the Week
The college football season is moving into more conference action, so we're a little light on the cupcakes this week. The best we have to offer is Ball State at No. 2 Oklahoma -- but the Cardinals are 3-1 and off to their best start since 2008. But, wait ... what's this? Ball State has lost 11 in a row to Top 25 teams? Mmmm. The cupcake didn't look good on the outside, but it has a delicious cream filling.
Rivalry Game of the Week
Michigan State at Ohio State, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN
Mike Tressel is Michigan State's linebackers and special teams coach. His father, Dick Tressel, is Ohio State's running backs coach. Jim Tressel, whose name may ring a bell, is Mike's uncle and Dick's brother. Got it all? Good.
Mike's birthday was this week and, despite a vow of silence between father and son leading up to the game this week, Dick texted his son "Happy Birthday."
"I think my dad cheated a little bit," Mike said of the text.
Don't worry, Mike. At the end of the year, that text message won't be the Tressel cheating that most remember.
Another Rivalry Game of the Week
Notre Dame at Purdue, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
It's a battle for bragging rights between the only two BCS football programs in the state of Indiana. (OK, riiiiiiiight, Indiana. Sure you are. Good one.)
Heisman Candidate in the Crosshairs
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
A big game in prime time against Nebraska would give a huge boost to Wilson's Heisman campaign. A Wilson Heisman would also be back-to-back wins by players who joined their teams right before the season. The obvious lesson is that traditional recruiting is a waste of time. It's better to just wait for some huge talent to show up on your campus out of nowhere. Advantage: lazy coaches.
Mascot Fact of the Week
Smokey, Tennessee's blue tick coon hound live mascot, has been performing on a torn ACL. According to GoVolsXtra, Smokey partially tore the ACL in his right hind leg two weeks ago against Cincinnati but is progressing nicely in his rehab.
The dog's vet, Dr. Darryl Millis, has injected Smokey with platelet-rich plasma, run him on an underwater treadmill and done electrical stimulation on the knee -- and I am not making any of this up -- but postseason surgery is probably necessary. "We'll rehab him the same way that a football player would rehab, with some modification, of course," said Millis. Of course. Some modification. So I'm guessing no crutches.
Perhaps Tennessee will list Smokey on its team injury report. Back in 1991, after Smokey VI suffered heat exhaustion in a game against UCLA, Tennessee listed him on the report until he returned to action. All schools should report mascot injuries. For example:
- East Carolina: PeeDee the Pirate: Questionable (scurvy)
- Ohio State -- Brutus the Buckeye: Probable (hepatitis)
- Miami -- Sebastian the Ibis: Questionable (STD)
- Stanford -- The Tree: Probable (drunk)
- Texas -- Bevo: Out (eaten)
Tailgate Tip of the Week
Get a Shotgun Beer Can Opener
For only $3.74, you can punch a nice hole in the side of a beer can to deliver its contents quickly to your stomach. Now, you may think that shotgunning a beer isn't classy. But you'd be wrong. Drinking beer in alternative ways is the way classy people do it. For example, this LSU grandmother doing a keg stand. The Greatest Generation!
Quote of the Week
"That second half is really what we're all about. I mean, we played really good on offense. We played really good on defense. And we were good in the kicking game. But coming back on the road like that against a top-10 team, not many people in the country can do that."
-- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, following the Cowboys' comeback victory over Texas A&M last week
Now, you may be wondering: "What's so interesting about that quote?" Nothing ... except for the fact that it came right after Gundy did this.
Most people after behaving in that manner in public would immediately say: "I am so so sorry. That was embarrassing. Please, let's all forget that just happened. Please. I beg you. I'm a man! I'm 44! I can't behave this way in public."
But Gundy didn't say that. So he earns Quote of the Week. Congrats, Mike. Please don't do a celebratory dance.
Greatest Conference Ever of the Week
The Big Ten went 8-2 last week with only Indiana losing to North Texas and Minnesota to North Dakota State. As discussed above, Indiana hardly counts because it's barely a real program. Same with Minnesota; it's a colder, lakier Indiana.
Worst Conference Ever of the Week
The ACC went 3-4 out of conference last week, with losses to Cincinnati, Kansas State, Southern Miss and Temple. Cincinnati, Kansas State, Southern Miss and Temple: expect your ACC invites in the mail. "The ACC: If you can't beat'em, have 'em join you. (Soon we'll have a 150-team conference.)"
Stat of the Week
West Virginia sold 36,042 "units" of beer last week for its game against LSU. The school sold 38,750 "units" in its first two home games combined. It's pretty obvious that getting crushed drives people to drink. Drowning sorrows and all that. Or ... wait. Maybe it's more obvious that having a bunch of people from Louisiana in town helps beer sales. Hmm. Tough call. This is a question to debate the next time you're out with your friends having some units.
Coach on the Hot Seat
Larry Porter, Memphis
The Tigers were 1-11 last year and are off to a 1-3 start this year. Now that the most obvious firing in the country has finally been made -- Mike Locksley at New Mexico -- everyone else moves up a slot. It's the circle of life/angry message board postings.
Player Name of the Week
Boyblue Aoelua, LB, New Mexico State
The senior has 25 tackles and an interception through four games, but the Aggies are only 1-3 and have given up 48 or more points in their past three games. He'll need to step it up to help New Mexico State beat rival New Mexico on Saturday. Perhaps this will motivate him.
Coach Name of the Week
Barney Cotton, offensive line coach, Nebraska
Barney Cotton's official Nebraska biography leaves much to be desired. It talks all about his various career stops and successes, but mentions nothing about his buzz cut or his mustache. Worst of all, there's not a single mention about his years of military service.
Stone Cold Lock of the Week
A Boston College victory over Wake Forest this week probably won't be enough to make Boston sports fans feel better.
DJ Gallo is the founder of SportsPickle.com. His first book, "The View from the Upper Deck," is available from only the finest bargain-book retailers. His next book project will be released soon. You can follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloESPN.