Friday, January 29
The 50 Most Loathsome People in College Football: 30-21.
(Previously: #s 50 through 41 and 40 through 31.)
30. Thom Brennaman
Charges: When people breathe audible sighs of relief upon hearing that Fox's BCS contract expired following the 2009 bowl season, their primary reason for doing so is Brennaman, who has come to symbolize everything that is lame and tone-deaf about Fox's college-football coverage. Brennaman's almost willful ignorance of the CFB landscape is off-putting enough, but he's now besmirched two straight bowl seasons with a cloying adulation for Tim Tebow that borders on the homoerotic. Over the course of his sportscasting career, he's arguably spent more time intimately acquainting his tongue with the intricacies of Tebow's perineum (go look it up) than keeping tabs on which down it is. When Brian Billick dared to cast doubt on Tebow's NFL prospects during this past season's Sugar Bowl, the audible indignation in Brennaman's voice would've been deemed overwrought and unprofessional even by most of the 14-year-old girls you've come across.
Exhibit A: "If you're fortunate enough to spend five minutes or 20 minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it."
Sentence: Circumcised with a rusty corkscrew in the worst hospital in Manila.
Charges: Stipulated: The BCS sucks. Selecting the national-title-game participants through an impenetrable stew of computer formulas and decimal points makes about as much sense as electing a president via a punt, pass and kick contest. But setting up a PAC with the express purpose of getting the government involved takes things to a whole new level. Seriously, you want this gang of one-car-funeral-fucker-uppers having a say in how crystal footballs are handed out? Seriously? Given the degree to which federal response to pressing issues is infarcted by the mouth-breathers in Congress, what we'll end up with is a setup whereby at least one team from every state has to receive at least partial credit for having earned a national title, and that'll get blown up once a Congressman from one of the larger red states determines that based on population and total federal grants to public universities, his state actually deserves two. If you can't pick this out as a clear-cut gridiron version of Animal Farm waiting to happen, you need to put down the channel-changer and trade in your football fandom for something a little less challenging, like Candy Land.
Exhibit A: I'm getting e-mail spam from them despite never even having visited their Web site.
Sentence: Time-warped back to 1860 and ordered to come up with a solution to the free state/slave state conundrum on penalty of death by firing squad.
28. Orrin Hatch
Charges: PlayoffPAC may be a horrendously ill-conceived waste of time, but at least it's just a bunch of private citizens with nothing better to do. Hatch, however, is a United States senator, which means we pay him nearly two hundred thousand dollars a year to have something better to do -- yet in spite of a lingering recession, unemployment level bumping up against 10 percent, and ongoing major military operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he still saw fit to spend Congress's time last summer on hearings concerning the "legality" of the BCS. (The fact that all three DI-A programs in his state are from mid-major conferences? Oh, just one of those crazy coincidences, I'm sure.) From there, it's really not that big a leap to foresee Hatch demanding a special prosecutor to find out whether his next-door neighbor has been allowing his shar-pei to poop in Hatch's rose garden.
Exhibit A: Just 15 days after his BCS hearings began, Hatch pulled out of negotiations over the health-care reform bill. Wasn't worth his time, I guess.
Sentence: Flayed alive at halftime at the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, with his skin being turned into a tent for still-homeless Haitian earthquake victims.
27. Steve Spurrier
Charges: It's always hard to see a legend fall -- except when the legend is Steve Spurrier, who spent the entirety of the 1990s getting his jollies via the gratuitous humiliation of opponents but has since been left to stew at South Carolina, a program that couldn't win an SEC championship if you spotted them Alabama's roster and Ole Miss's schedule. Despite not having achieved anything more notable in Columbia than eight wins and a Liberty Bowl title, Spur Dog continues to cling to Uncle Rico-like delusions that he can cap off his career with a stunning resurrection story, but every year he continues to hold the Gamecocks in thrall to his fading legacy is another year they miss out on hiring an innovative Muschampesque up-and-comer whose game plan dares to venture beyond "Fuck the offensive line, we'll just throw it 40 times a game and everything will work itself out." Would clearly rather be hitting the links at Augusta National on Saturdays, which if that's the case he should just quit now and stop dragging down the SEC's bowl record.
Exhibit A: After getting beaten by two touchdowns, by the fourth-place team in the Big East, in the Papajohns.com Bowl, Spurrier said, "We've got to somehow learn how to practice a month before the game better."
Sentence: Forced to serve as the live donor for Urban Meyer's inevitable heart transplant.
26. Nu'Keese Richardson
Charges: As the focal point of one of the biggest brouhahas of last year's signing day -- Richardson was the recruit Lane Kiffin insisted Urban Meyer had "cheated" in contacting and still hadn't been able to land -- one could be forgiven for assuming Richardson might perceive an extra incentive to keep his nose clean in Knoxville. Evidently he did not. On the morning of November 12, Richardson and two other Tennessee football players were arrested for robbing someone at a Pilot convenience store near campus. With what turned out to be a pellet gun. "Nuke" was promptly booted off the team, his Vol career totaling all of 160 yards from scrimmage (the vast majority of which were earned against Western Kentucky and Memphis). Last seen attempting to resurrect his stillborn career at Hampton University, which with any luck offers a course in remedial common sense.
Exhibit A: After finding that their intended victim didn't have any cash on him, Richardson and his co-conspirators fled -- in a Prius -- but were stopped on their way home. Right outside the UT athletic dorm.
Sentence: The same as whatever he'd get in Tennessee for armed robbery, only it has to be served in the Michael Vick suite at Leavenworth.
25. Gregg Doyel
Charges: A pencil-necked, Mencken-wannabe misanthrope who ratchets up the cranky, constantly disgusted negativity of John Feinstein while stripping out any of Feinstein's maturity or sense of propriety, Doyel's every written word drips with bilious contempt. Not once has the CBSsports.com columnist ever offered any shred of evidence that there's anything about college football he actually likes; instead, his every utterance is a caustic diatribe against a coach, team, player, or entire fan base that has failed to live up to his arbitrary standards of awesomeness. Doyel steadfastly refuses to demonstrate any tactical insight or statistical mastery, nor a desire to inform or even show a modicum of empathy with the fans for whom he's supposedly writing. It's just all acid, all the time, as if his regular column existed solely for him to demonstrate how cleverly he can piss people off in print. And there's just no place in the blogosphere for showoffs like that.
Exhibit A: His column lambasting Tim Tebow for his anti-abortion Super Bowl ad was so acerbic that the pro-choice football fans I know felt bad for agreeing with him.
Sentence: Signed to a buddy-cop movie with Colin Cowherd, directed by the "Date Movie"/"Epic Movie"/"Disaster Movie" duo of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.
24. Bill Simmons
Charges: Thankfully, "The Sports Guy" rarely deigns to write about college football these days, presumably because there are no college teams named the Patriots, Red Sox, or Celtics. But when he does, the result is every bit as embarrassing as you'd think it would be coming from a man who appears openly proud of never having traveled south of I-495 unless forced to. Worse yet, Simmons has gone from being the voice of the enthusiastic, pop-culture-literate everyfan to a self-satisfied starfucker more concerned with dropping the names of all the awesome people ESPN has given him the opportunity to hang out with. At this point, he's the sportswriting equivalent of 5 1/2" floppy disks or leaded gasoline: useful for a while, quaint in their own way, but the world has moved on.
Exhibit A: In an April 2009 segment on his radio show, Simmons for some reason gave the equally cloying Rick Reilly free reign to dredge up a year-and-a-half-old pseudo-incident in which EDSBS passed along a story that Reilly had brought a stripper into the press box for the Florida-LSU game, then said, "It just seems like society's gotten a little bit meaner. Which I'm surprised by, because -- I really thought after 9/11, it was gonna be like some sort of wake-up call for everybody, you know?" This from the guy who threw together four thousand words gloating over Pete Carroll's inability to three-peat in the '06 Rose Bowl.
Sentence: The Patriots trade Tom Brady and Wes Welker away to the Bills and stumble through a decade of five- or six-win seasons before finally being sold and moved off to Los Angeles.
23. Mike Hamilton
Charges: Take the migraine-inducingly bad decision-making exhibited by Mike Hamrick at #44, boil off whatever loyalty or respect for tradition that might be motivating him in his current position at his alma mater, and you've got Tennessee's Hamilton, an athletic director who evidently graduated from the same slash-and-burn/get-distracted-by-the-first-shiny-thing-someone-dangles-in-front-of-your-face school of management that worked such wonders for GM and Lehman Brothers. Hamilton's first step in submarining the UT football program was to unload lifelong Big Urnge loyalist Phil Fulmer; the second and more important step was hiring budding dipshit Lane Kiffin, who could only be troubled to smirk his way through one season in Knoxville before busting tracks for USC without so much as leaving some bills on the nightstand. Thanks in part to the ridiculous contracts Hamilton had OK'd for Kiffykins' assistants, one prospective replacement after another turned the Vols down until they finally settled on a three-year WAC coach with a 17-20 record. If Hamilton still has a job in Knoxville as of this time next year, it should be taken as a sign that Tennessee is firmly committed to becoming a basketball school.
Exhibit A: In an interview earlier this month, Hamilton told ESPN, "Unless people get amnesia, that [Kiffin] was the coach everyone wanted." Which can basically be translated as "Because everyone else is as dumb as I am, it's not technically my fault."
Sentence: Serving as human anchor for the Volunteer Navy.
22. Lou Holtz
Charges: I'm going to try to tread somewhat lightly here, because my family has had its share of people who struggled with dementia just like everyone else's. But we've all watched Sweet Lou with our own eyes, and it has become clear over the last couple seasons that the former Notre Dame coach barely has the mental acuity to successfully procure cash from an ATM. Still, his mush-mouthed voice continues to fire spittle at us from the "College Gameday" set several times a week, mangling players' names and cravenly hyping any team he's ever coached -- or that his son has coached, for that matter, since Holtz apparently saw no reason to recuse himself from the broadcast booth of an East Carolina game last season despite the fact that his son Skip was on the sideline. The only reason he's not higher on this list is that ESPN is just as responsible, if not more so, for enabling him.
Exhibit A: Compared Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez to Hitler, something even the craziest, couch-burnin'est West Virginia fan would think was in poor taste.
Sentence: Locked in a sealed room that begins filling with water and won't stop until Notre Dame wins a national championship.
21. SEC referees
Charges: Seems like every year a different conference's officiating crew manages to assemble its own lowlight reel of blown calls, egregiously thrown flags, and assorted fuckuppery that sets the nationwide standard for ruinous interference. This past year, that crew was Rogers Redding's platoon of Keystone Kops from the SEC, who embarrassed themselves so thoroughly at one point in the season that commissioner Mike Slive had to issue a leaguewide gag order banning coaches from disparaging them in public. It was bad enough that Marc Curles's curiously one-sided calls prompted conspiracy theories about the league trying to engineer a matchup of undefeated Alabama and Florida teams in the conference title game to ensure a shot at the national championship, worse still that those theories started looking entirely believable.
Sentence: Torn limb from limb by a pack of British soccer hooligans, who then excessively celebrate their achievement.
We're fixing to delve into the depth of the truly, significantly, irredeemably loathsome -- #s 20 through 11 are on their way tomorrow. Or whenever I get around to it.