Well, we've come to the end of the road, and it's time to count down the last 10 of the 50 Most Loathsome People in College Football. If anyone you hate has been left off the list entirely, go ahead and bitch about it in the comments, though I can't promise you I'll do anything about it because You don't come into the OB playin' that stuff!!!! Sorry, went a little Lamar Thomas there for a second. But anyway, thanks to everyone for their nominations, kind words, and links. It's been fun. Now I gotta go put on my disguise so that I can walk down the street to Starbucks without Ed Orgeron jumping me in the alley.
Recap: 50-41; 40-31; 30-21; 20-11.
10. Myles Brand
Charges: Oversees a gigantic, Big Brother-like organization whose sole purpose is evidently to apply recruiting and player-benefit rules in an utterly arbitrary fashion, while providing teams with no actual perceptible benefits. Built a wall of secrecy around his organization rivalling even that of the Bush administration, resulting in a near-complete lack of accountability. Focuses on ridiculous non-issues like Native American mascots while letting increasingly outrageous recruiting practices go unchecked. Makes public examples of lesser programs while frequently allowing the big boys to skate.
Exhibit A: Declared Colorado punt returner Jeremy Bloom ineligible for taking endorsement money for his completely non-football-related Olympic skiing; took no action when Ohio State QB Troy Smith pocketed $500 from a booster.
Sentence: No less than 10 years' confinement at the bottom of one of those latrines that Calvin Johnson helped build in Third World countries.
9. Mark Shapiro
Charges: Whenever people complain about some aspect of ESPN that sucks, it can usually be traced back to Shapiro, the former programming exec whose Sportstainment-izing of the Worldwide Leader in Sports is at the root of some of the network's most insufferable changes over the last few years. These include, but are not exclusive to, the taint of Big & Rich (q.v.) on "College Gameday"; irrelevant nonentities such as Desmond Howard; and fungible, add-absolutely-nothing-to-the-show features such as "Wired" and the inexpressibly stupid "Gillette Game Face." Repeatedly punched the network's ticket on rides that took it closer and closer to the intelligence-deprived lowest common denominator.
Exhibit A: Left ESPN to become the CEO of a corporation trying to take over . . . Six Flags.
Sentence: A daily four-hour dose of verbal abuse from Stephen A. Smith.
Charges: Yeah, great, you were chosen Time magazine's "Man of the Year" -- you still suck. You blow entire Saturdays living vicariously through unsuspecting 19-year-olds whose 40 times you care more about than their GPAs, yet have no qualms about turning on them the moment they fuck up. Similarly, you hail every new coach as a "savior" with godlike powers to lift your team to the greatest heights of achievement, but call for them to be fired the minute the clock hits 00:00 on their first loss. Most of you have never played a single down of competitive football, but launch into frothing, rage-filled bitchfests about individual play calls or entire game plans before the dust has even settled on the field. And you spew hate-filled invective like a Mentos-doctored Coke bottle at people whose only sin is wearing different team colors from yours. Just what the fuck is wrong with you, anyway?
Exhibit A: Check any Alabama message board.
Sentence: Twenty years of being followed everywhere you go by the announcing team of Pam Ward (play-by-play) and Dave Rowe (color), who will loudly and conspicuously narrate every last embarrassing moment of your miserable, worthless life.
7. Dennis Erickson
Charges: Yes, he deepened the Miami Hurricanes' reputation for being a cesspool of thuggery and leveled the San Francisco 49ers with a 9-23 record in his two seasons there, but now he's even bringing death and destruction to poor defenseless programs like Idaho, which he left in December after only one season -- after having told the AD he would only leave if he retired. In 24 years of head coaching he has now held jobs at eight different places (nine if you count his separate stints with the Vandals).
Exhibit A: "It doesn't really matter who the coaches are -- well, it does -- but we're the reason they have jobs," [linebacker Brian Vobora] added. "If they're going to do that and play the politics game, it's going to be hard for us to trust our next coach because we've been [messed with] a couple of times, so it's hard to deal with."
Sentence: "TEMPE, Ariz., 11/25/07 -- Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson was fired today after just one season, in which he led the Sun Devils to an embarrassing 0-12 record . . . "
6. Paul Bryant Jr.
Charges: As the son and namesake of the legendary "Bear" Bryant, PBJ has faithfully taken up the task of fueling the Alabama fan base's delusional belief that anybody will ever be able to take the Tide to those heights again. Currently doing his best to give Alabama its own version of Bobby Lowder (q.v.), which of course is just what Alabama (and the rest of the world) needs. As a trustee of the University of Alabama, has exercised staggering amounts of influence for the sole purpose of ensuring that his dad's legacy is carried on everywhere and anywhere, and to hell with everything else.
Exhibit A: Told UAB $600,000 was too much to pay Jimbo Fisher to be the head coach (so they had to hire Neil Callaway, one of Bear's former players, instead), but happily signed off on dumping $32 million on Nick Saban.
Sentence: Shackled and chained to a support girder at Legion Field when the old thing is finally demolished.
5. Bobby Lowder
Charges: Continues to debase the college game by bringing in yet another NFL influence it doesn't need: the archetype of the rich, meddling, conniving-ass Jerry Jones/Dan Snyder owner-cum-superfan. Exerts more influence than anyone without an official university job title should, to the point of trying to hand-pick coaches (which nearly endangered Auburn's very accreditation not so long ago). Gauche attempts to simply throw wads of cash at any situation he finds disagreeable only serve to increase the already-monolithic role money plays in a once-accessible sport. Also looks really creepy.
Exhibit A: His abortive attempt to oust Tommy Tuberville turned one of the SEC's smarmiest, most dislikable coaches into a sympathetic figure.
Sentence: After having eyes pecked out by Tiger VI, has to work the Fry-O-Lator at Cheeburger Cheeburger on College Avenue.
4. Mark May
Charges: In one cranky, sanctimonious package, symbolizes nearly everything currently wrong with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. He is one of several poster children for ESPN's apparent philosophy that combative, self-satisfied pundits are what the American people really want; at the same time, he is a singularly obedient mouthpiece for whichever insufferable storyline the WWL wants to pump at any given moment. Happily straps on the kneepads and polishes the knobs of existing media darlings like USC and Notre Dame; witheringly, smirkingly dismissive of just about everyone else, most glaringly evident in an ignorance of the SEC that rivals even Heismanpundit's. In terms of public approval, makes Trev Alberts look like Ronald Reagan.
Exhibit A: Variously declared USC, then Texas, then Notre Dame the OMG greatest team EVAR -- in the span of less than one season.
Sentence: Alberts slices off the top of his head and sautees pieces of his brain like Anthony Hopkins did to Ray Liotta in "Hannibal," then feeds the pieces to Uga VI.
3. Mitch Cozad
Charges: A real mama's boy by most accounts, Cozad cast even greater aspersions onto the manliness of the punting position by choosing a strategy presaged by the Amazing Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Stabbed one of his Northern Colorado teammates, starting punter Rafael Mendoza, in the leg as part of a plot to, I shit you not, take over the starting punting job. Even before he turned felon, he was letting his mom follow him to all his practices and videotape him so that she could analyze his punting like the Zapruder film.
Exhibit A: "Kessler said Mendoza was attacked from behind after parking his car outside his apartment at about 9:30 p.m. About 10 minutes after the attack, a liquor store clerk told police that a car matching the description of the assailant's getaway car stopped outside the store, where two men stripped tape off the license plate and drove away."
Sentence: Either has to get the crap kicked out of him by Tonya Harding or has to have sex with her. Mendoza gets to pick.
2. Ellis T. Jones III
Charges: Didn't get much attention for it because he played for a team that very nearly ceased to exist a few years ago, but took the Marcus Vick stereotype of the out-of-control thug athlete to heights even Marcus Vick couldn't have conceived of. Between June 27 and 30, 2006, the San Jose State wideout lured people to his apartment via Craigslist offering to sell them various electronic devices, then promptly robbed them, occasionally after giving them a right good tasering. Added kidnapping to his rap sheet when he locked one victim in the trunk of his car. Compiled so many Fulmer Cup points all by his lonesome that he more than doubled the tally of the team winner (Marshall).
Exhibit A: The following sentence from this story: "Jones is in custody in Tulare County on suspicion of unrelated robberies committed in Visalia."
Sentence: Well, the California penal system will probably take care of him soon enough, so we'll simply assign him Mo Clarett as a cellmate.
1. Gary Barnett
Charges: The sorcerer who somehow managed to take Northwestern to a Rose Bowl in the mid-'90s worked similarly potent magic with the Colorado Buffaloes, but it was of the black kind, transforming the Buffs from a proud program into a reasonable facsimile of the late stages of the Roman Empire. Not only allowed prospective players to be tempted with booze and hookers on recruiting visits, but also looked the other way while private donations intended for his summer football camps were instead diverted to pay for this debauchery. Barnett continued to fiddle while Rome burned and player after player was hit with sexual assault allegations; eventually one of Barnett's own players, female placekicker Katie Hnida, came forward to accuse her teammates of rape. This was slagged off by the Barnster, however, who said Hnida should've known she didn't have the respect of her teammates because she was a shitty kicker. To the university's discredit, this merited only a temporary suspension; they didn't really get upset about all this malfeasance until Barnett led the Buffaloes to a 70-3 anal vivisection by Texas in the 2005 Big XII championship game, at which point he was fired. Barnett has done anything but go gently into that good night, however; he was last seen campaigning for the head coaching position at the Air Force Academy, a position which (at the time) was very much occupied. That last offense speaks to why Barnett won top honors in this list: He might've avoided the #1 spot were it not for the fact that, like Jim Harrick and Dennis Erickson, he's eventually going to get hired again by some program, somewhere, desperate enough for a name coach that they're willing to turn a blind eye to his slime-encrusted record. And then it won't be long before we're hashing all this out again.
Exhibit A: After trashing the CU program so thoroughly that his successor, Dan Hawkins, could muster no better than a 2-10 record in 2006, Barnett claimed this "vindicated" him. "It tore me two ways," he said; "I hurt for the kids. Those are my guys. I know the talent that we have there, the maturity and the leadership, and I want those guys to get everything they deserve, and I want them to play in the [Big 12] Championship Game again. Then, on the other side, I got taken out of that situation. I got removed from it and someone else made that decision. Part of me felt a little vindication because of it."
Sentence: Trampled by Ralphie IV and left in a dumpster behind the Bunny Ranch.
Again, thanks to everyone who suggested and/or linked. Enjoy the national championship game tonight, and don't forget to tip your waitresses on the way out.