Apologies for the slow blogging over the last couple days, folks -- I've been working on a piece for something the Roll Bama Roll guys are hoping to put out later on this year (unless they weren't ready to announce that just yet, in which case I've been surfing the Web for porn). But I hope you'll excuse me for doing a little football work on the side, because we're getting right into the heart of silly season -- the point in the year at which we gridiron junkies give up all pretense of sanity and just start begging PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for football season to fucking start already. Bloggers very much like myself are forced to spin thousand-word posts out of practice reports or spring scrimmages, and when we don't even have those to write about, we get desperate and start reaching big-time -- until the point where we're throwing up stuff like this or this, which are the sports-blogger equivalent of going to the cupboard and guzzling the vanilla extract.
The whole "College Football Teams as Other Things" archetype is always a good fallback, though, not to mention something I have some experience with. Roll your eyes if you want, but crap like this has earned me an upcoming spot as a guest lecturer in Dr. Marian Hamilton-Fletcher's semiotics class at Duke University (SOTC 4112 -- Group Comparisons of Things to Other Things: Theory and Practice).
The next installment in that less-than-distinguished series? Georgia's 2008 Schedule as "30 Rock" Characters. Now, this is only going to be funny to that select group of people who both a) follow Georgia football and b) watch "30 Rock" religiously, and perhaps not even to them. But it's perfect in its own weird way because the Dawgs, God love 'em, are like the Liz Lemon of football: Extremely talented, even "hot" by many standards, and very near the pinnacle of their respective career paths -- yet afflicted with the kind of neuroses and brain-fart propensity that always seems to bring them down just a few steps short of the brass ring. The 2007 season was a prime example of this.
So who are the people who'll be traveling in and out of our orbit and causing us problems this season? We'll start on opening weekend and progress chronologically.
(ADDED: Welcome, SI.com readers -- make yourselves at home, try on anything you like, feel free to grab one of our sales associates if you have any questions. And thanks much to Campus Clicks for the link; I've got you down for fifty bucks and my firstborn.)
Georgia Southern: Kenneth the page
Friendly, non-threatening; any gathering involving them is going to be polite and relentlessly upbeat, even as they're being put resoundingly in their place. Yet while it maybe easy to write them off as lightweights, after the Appalachian State-Michigan debacle there's no way we're going to be taking them lightly. "In five years we'll all either be working for him . . . or be dead by his hand."
Central Michigan: Pete Hornberger
No real rivalry here. Capable, always good for an unexpected flash of brilliance, but they've got too much baggage (MAC affiliation/the teenage son he's afraid of) for us to ever want to trade places with them.
at South Carolina: Devon Banks
Unctuous, devious, but mostly just annoying. Rivalry with Florida/Jack Donaghy (q.v.) has seen its share of interesting moments, even an upset or two, but even when they somehow succeed in ascending to the top echelon they never hang around for very long. Just as Banks tries to convince people he's heterosexual, the Gamecocks are determined to convince people they're SEC-championship material; no sane person should believe either one.
at Arizona State: Cerie
Just there to look pretty; in the grand scheme of things they don't actually figure that heavily in our chances for success (or lack of same). Yet just as many viewers wouldn't mind a hot blonde like Cerie getting more screen time, most Georgia fans would be perfectly happy to play some tougher, BCS-conference road games now and then.
Alabama: Tracy Jordan
They're not on crack, they're straight-up mentally ill. Currently vying for the title of Hot Mess of the SEC; down for a while, now poised for a major comeback, but at the same time highly dysfunctional, always in danger of a very public and embarrassing implosion. Capable of just about anything, from an awe-inspiring victory to an abject humiliation. Ongoing, frequently vicious rivalry with Auburn/Jenna Maroney (q.v.). Fervent belief in all manner of paranoid conspiracy theories (Auburn or Tennessee constantly plotting against them/"I believe there are 31 letters in the white alphabet").
Tennessee: Frank Rossitano
Obnoxious, and proud of it; they both live to provoke people. Deliberately wear some of the tackiest outfits imaginable, which more often than not include a trucker hat. On paper, they're losers -- so why are they so good at f$#@ing with us?
Smarter and classier than most of the nut jobs they're surrounded by, but chronically incapable of rising above them. Both have Civil War legacies they'd probably rather people not know about (Toofer's ancestor fighting for the Confederacy/Cornelius Vanderbilt's fraudulent claim to being a naval commander). They score a big win every now and then, but somehow it never becomes a habit.
at LSU: Dr. Leo Spaceman
Two erratic sorts whose competence is always in question due to seemingly mindless risk-taking and wildly experimental play-calling; frequently make people wonder whether there's any higher brain activity going on up there at all -- and yet they somehow never pay a price for it. In fact, they still manage to hold the fates of power players such as Alabama/Tracy Jordan and Florida/Jack Donaghy (qq.v.) in their very hands on a regular basis. But what can you do? Football's not a science.
vs. Florida: Jack Donaghy
Powerful, cunning; their mere names inspire fear and/or respect to varying degrees. Still, they're not without numerous flaws and hangups (overdependence on Tim Tebow/cookie-jar collection). There are also some serious mommy issues lingering here, if Steve Spurrier counts as a mommy. We're beginning to make up some ground in this relationship with a satisfying victory here and there (42-30/calling them a "Class A Moron" in the Post), but there's still a long way to go before they truly see us as equals.
at Kentucky: Josh Girard
When we found them, they were opening for a puppet. Since then, they've gotten fairly talented in their own way; particularly good at impressions, whether it's Christopher Walken or a wide-open NFL-style offense. They test well with female viewers 12 to 24, but those people will buy just about anything. Yeah, they score a major triumph every once in a while -- they even punked us not that long ago -- but more often than not, when they meet up with a true superstar they come out of it looking like they've just been klonged over the head with a fire extinguisher by Elizabeth Taylor.
at Auburn: Jenna Maroney
Long history with Liz/Georgia. Was the star of the show for a while, but even that only went so far, as neither the "People's National Champion" nor a starring role in "The Rural Juror" inspired much lasting respect; now feeling very threatened by Alabama/Tracy Jordan's resurgence in the public eye, and hunting desperately for gimmicks (Tony Franklin's spread offense/Jenna's collagen injection and skin peel) to remain relevant. Perhaps not the sharpest knives in their respective drawers, as prior relationships with David Blaine and Terry Bowden will attest.
Georgia Tech: J.D. Lutz
Constantly frustrated about their respective places in the world and increasingly bitter about it. Due to either a lack of imagination or simple laziness, they've become content to offer up consistent mediocrity, whether it's five-loss seasons or an endless series of sketches revolving around hobos. Prone to calling us all manner of nasty names, yet once the smoke has cleared, they're on their knees begging not to be sent to some frigid, snowy clime (Alaska for Lutz, Boise for the Jackets).
And I guess that's about all there is to say, except we're gonna eat your family.