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Thursday, September 29, 2011
Updated: December 15, 3:14 PM ET
A 'Star Wars' guide for Will Muschamp

By DJ Gallo
Page 2

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

Ball State

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: