Monday, February 1
The 50 Most Loathsome People in College Football: 20-11.
We're plumbing the depths of the truly, irrevocably worthless now. (Previously: #s 50-41, 40-31, and 30-21.)
20. Jimmy Clausen
Charges: Notre Dame fans, you might think Charlie Weis was the overwhelming reason the rest of us have hated your team for the past few years, but just as much blame rests on Clausen, the smug, emu-coiffed golden boy whose every action has screamed "prick" ever since he showed up at the College Football Hall of Fame in a Hummer limo just to announce his oral commitment to the Irish. From his overwrought signing announcement to his douchebag behavior at the '06 California state high-school championship game to taunting Boston College players during pre-game warmups last season, perhaps no player in the country is more convinced of his own awesomeness with less to back it up (16-18 record as a starter, a career QB rating lower than Joe Cox's). Dishonorable mention to his dad, who's now foisted two overrated asshat QBs on Division I-A and who was reportedly the reason Tennessee didn't make a big push to recruit Jimmy in 2006.
Exhibit A: While the rest of his team was busy getting embroiled in a trash-talk battle with the USC Trojans before the 2008 USC-ND game -- a game the Irish would lose 38-3 -- Jimmy went off and taunted the USC band.
Sentence: Drafted by the Raiders. In the sixth round.
19. Deion Sanders
Charges: After a 17-year NFL career typified by an increasingly out-of-whack sizzle-to-steak ratio, Neon Deion evidently began fancying himself a shade-tree Svengali to aspiring NFL receivers. First he helped convince the 49ers' first-round draft pick, Michael Crabtree, to become the longest rookie holdout in franchise history; just a short time later, his association with Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant got Bryant declared ineligible by the NCAA. This from the man who inspired the "Deion Sanders rule" after he started for FSU in the Sugar Bowl despite skipping finals. Other than former Hillary Clinton campaign "strategist" Mark Penn, nobody's had a worse track record as an advisor over the past couple years.
Exhibit A: As if Sanders hadn't done enough damage to OSU's prospects, he hung out with Ole Miss players during their Cotton Bowl practices and was spotted chatting with Rebel WR Dexter McCluster. (Fortunately, McCluster was a senior with no eligibility left to lose.)
Sentence: Banished to a remote island in the Arctic Ocean with no video cameras.
18. Bill Hancock/Ari Fleischer (tie)
Charges: The BCS already had developed a nationwide reputation as a closed, impenetrable system reeking of good-ole-boy-networkism and complete contempt toward the average fan. So executive director Hancock, just to make sure there were no bones about his organization's arrogance and total lack of concern for how it is perceived in the public eye, hired former Bush Administration mouthpiece Ari Fleischer's consulting group to help manage its image. Not that the BCS's past propagandists have been anything special, but Fleischer's mushmouthed defenses of the BCS system are so farcical as to make one wonder whether former Iraqi information minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf really retired after all.
Exhibit A: The "insidethebcs" Twitter feed, featuring such brilliant arguments as this declaration patting the BCS for "enhancing" the bowl season. Right, because everyone was wondering when we'd finally get to see USC whack Illinois by 32 points in the Rose Bowl.
Sentence: Strapped to fireworks and launched right after the singing of the national anthem at next year's national-title game.
17. George O'Leary
Charges: O'Leary's reputation for being a principled, old-school straight shooter has almost completely crumbled into that of a grouchy old bastard who is convinced the sun shines out of his own ass, a devolution that is entirely warranted: Few coaches seem to have dumb controversy following so closely on their tails at all times. At Georgia Tech, O'Leary sicced his starting front four on an unsuspecting O-lineman in practice for missing too many blocks; from there he went to Notre Dame, where his tenure lasted all of five days before he was fired for making shit up on his résumé; and now, at Central Florida, he's managed to have a player die on him during conditioning drills. The last of those incidents would've been merely a random, senseless tragedy, were it not for reports (from his own players) that O'Leary was standing over Ereck Plancher barking insults at him even as Plancher was wheezing his final breaths. If it seems odd that a guy who went 52-33 at GT has never gotten so much as a sniff from a BCS-conference program looking for a head coach, well, that's a big part of the reason why.
Exhibit A: After a semi-exposé by the Orlando Sentinel into the Plancher incident, O'Leary barred Sentinel reporters from having any access to his coaches or players until the paper corrected what he called inaccuracies in its reporting -- but refused to specify what those inaccuracies were.
Sentence: Anal fissures.
16. Bobby Petrino
Charges: Petrino has managed to stay out of trouble, for the most part, since arriving in Fayetteville, Arkansas, two years ago. It was the way he got there that was truly loathsome -- accepting 30 pieces of silver from Jerry Jones and abandoning the Atlanta Falcons after only 13 (mostly embarrassing) games with nearly a whole month left in the 2007 regular season. And he went to Atlanta just six months after having signed a 10-year contract with Louisville, where he got embroiled in a shitstorm after just one season by attending the legendary secret meeting with Auburn megabooster/warlock Bobby Lowder about potentially replacing Tommy Tuberville. You all saw how awkward Petrino looked doing "Woo pig sooey" during his introduction to the Razorback faithful -- does anybody seriously think he's gonna be within 500 miles of Fayetteville three years from now?
Exhibit A: Didn't even bother to tell his Falcon players in person that he was leaving -- just left a one-paragraph letter in their lockers. His own players called him a "coward" and a "cancer" in the wake of his departure.
Sentence: After a five-TD Papajohns.com Bowl beatdown from Tuberville's Texas Tech Red Raiders, assassinated by a hitman hired by Jerry Jones.
15. Kent Hance
Charges: ESPN analyst and all-world helicopter parent Craig James would be hard-pressed to outwit your average telephone pole, yet he still had the bare minimum of cunning it took to intimidate Texas Tech chancellor Hance into firing Mike Leach, the winningest coach in school history, over little more than foggy accusations that Leach harmed "the health and well-being of an injured student-athlete" (i.e. James's ne'er-do-well son). Just to really twist the knife in, Hance fired Leach the day before the coach would've been owed a "contract completion bonus" of $800,000. This at the university that hired Bobby Knight, who'd actually choked a kid at his previous job at Indiana.
Exhibit A: Hance also oversaw the hiring of disgraced attorney general Alberto Gonzales as a visiting professor in the political-science department teaching a "special topics" course on the executive branch.
Sentence: Waterboarded by Leach, who will, of course, be wearing a pirate outfit the entire time.
14. Tim Brando
Charges: On TV, Brando plays the role of the goofy, affable, football-lovin' uncle to the hilt. Off camera, though, he is a snide elitist straight out of the Buzz Bissinger school of entitlement, an insular jackhole who loves dropping the names of the folks his job allows him to hang out with but who has nothing but contempt for the average fan. Particularly if that fan dares to run a blog, because then he's a hate-filled rumormonger contributing to the coarsening of dialogue in American journalism. That's a pretty high horse for a guy who will happily tell callers to "shut the hell up" when he's making his frequent guest appearances on buddy Paul Finebaum's radio show (and for a guy who seems to think referring to teams as "the Fightin' [insert coach name here]s" is the absolute pinnacle of comedy).
Exhibit A: Fans and bloggers aren't the only ones expected to bow down at the altar of Brando: Last spring, he joined in with a Finebaum whinefest about how coaches like Nick Saban weren't consistently giving them the "access" they were owed.
Sentence: Right index finger chopped off, and loses an additional finger/toe for every time he makes one of his "a little Dabo'll do ya" joke in reference to Dabo Swinney.
13. Paul Finebaum
Charges: The poster child for little-man syndrome, "F-bomb" combines Colin Cowherd's withering contempt for his audience with an indomitable bandwagoneering streak. For hours each day, Finebaum exhibits little but sneering derision toward the thousands of listeners he's Stockholm Syndromed into hanging on his every dubiously informed word, yet for all his boasts about being the most dangerous man in sports radio, his allegiances and values are just as malleable as those of his dumbest and most gullible fans. When a team's doing well or is currently "hot" in the media, he loves 'em; when they're weathering a slump or controversy, they're worthless bottom-feeders and so are their fans. Right up until they hit a hot streak again, when they return to "awesome" status and everyone else becomes fools for doubting them. Finebaum is famous for being famous, the Paris Hilton of sports talk: His name is on everyone's lips as one of the top guys in his industry, yet it's impossible to pick out a single bit of value he adds to the sports experience, either in Alabama or anywhere else.
Exhibit A: A year ago, Chizik roundly heckled Auburn's hiring of Gene Chizik along with everyone else. By October, with Auburn 5-0 and ranked in the top 25, Chizik was steering the Tigers "down the right path." But just three weeks later, with Auburn riding a three-game losing streak, Finebaum decided Chizik and his coaching staff were "lousy," "clueless" and "naive."
Sentence: Suffocated between Terrence Cody's moobs.
12. Tim Tebow
Charges: First, let's get one thing straight -- Tebow isn't on here because he's a good player or because he's bitchmade Georgia two years in a row. Nor is he on here because he's a devout Christian. And his presence on the list is not intended to cast aspersions on his considerable talent. If anything, it's the opposite: It takes a lot for a player that good to still qualify as "overexposed." Yet that's precisely what Tebow is, to the point where even some Gator fans I know are starting to tire of the spectacle. For nearly four years now, we've been subjected to round-the-clock replays of his teary motivational speeches; the kind of marionette-on-crack touchdown celebrations that would get (and frequently have gotten) other SEC players pegged for 15 yards; and verbal fellations by everyone from Thom Brennaman to Gary Danielson to Sarah Palin. Now, Tebow isn't a programming director, and he obviously doesn't bear sole personal responsibility for this oversaturation, but instead of taking a break from the limelight and quietly prepping himself for the NFL draft, he's insinuating himself into our lives once again by taking a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl to tell us how we should feel about abortion. Tim, I don't pretend to speak for every college-football fan out there, but I'm pretty sure I speak for a lot of them when I say: Shut the fucking fuck up already. And God bless.
Exhibit A: The Web site of Tebow's father's ministry, the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, claims that three quarters of the people in the Philippines "have never once heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Gee, that just happens to be almost the same proportion of people in that country who are Roman Catholic. But I'm sure that's just one of those crazy coincidences!
Sentence: Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Raiders, and beaten out for the starting job by Jimmy Clausen.
11. Brian Butler
Charges: If there's one man in North America less qualified to offer advice to young football players than Deion Sanders, it might by former T-Mobile call center manager Butler, who has added a fresh coat of slime to the already-skeezy recruiting business by inventing the position of "recruiting manager." Supposedly this is a sort of gatekeeper/publicist/advisor to blue-chip recruits, but in actual practice he just serves as another middleman trying to profit off of naive teenagers. In order to raise the market value of linebacker Huldon Tharp, for example, Butler encouraged Tharp to spread word that he'd been offered a scholarship by the Miami Hurricanes; Miami had made no such offer, and Butler's mere association with five-star tailback Bryce Brown soon led the 'Canes to back off their attempts to sign him. But that didn't stop Butler from selling "recruiting updates" of Brown on his Web site for $9.99 a month (or $59 a year -- such a deal!). If Vegas isn't taking bets on the first time Butler or one of his colleagues sets a major NCAA investigation into motion, they're missing a golden opportunity.
Exhibit A: Brown's own high-school coach, Brian Byers, said Brown's attitude began deteriorating markedly almost the minute he hooked up with Butler, skipping a summer football camp and refusing to even stretch with his teammates during his junior season, "It's always been him and then everybody else," Byers told The New York Times. "Our team chemistry was nonexistent."
Sentence: One night of unbridled passion with Tom Lemming.
Tomorrow: The top 10. Bring an airsickness bag.