The 50 Most Loathsome People in College Football rolls on, and it's come to my attention that a few people think posts like this are immature and petty. Well, those people have already clocked in at #37 on next year's list. Probably crammed between Craig James and Jimmy Clausen.
If you've just joined us: 50-41; 40-31.
30. Lou Holtz
Charges: Perhaps even more so than Bobby Bowden, has devoted his life to making the chicken salad of down-home aw-shucks folksiness out of the chicken shit of malfeasance and borderline senility. Has left nearly every program he's touched in the throes of NCAA sanctions or some other type of embarrassment; the final game of his coaching career was topped off by a 10-minute bench-clearing brawl between his South Carolina players and those from arch-rival Clemson, and when the Carolina players were finally separated, they began fighting each other. Sometimes succeeds in making even Mark May look insightful on "College Gameday Final," where any school he has ever coached gets the benefit of his shameless homerism.
Exhibit A: During halftime of this year's Louisville-Kentucky game, he observed that Kentucky had been disrupting Louisville's passing game by getting good pressure on UL's receivers; Louisville won the game 59-28 after piling up more than 600 yards of offense. Three weeks later, said that winless Colorado could make some noise in the Big Eight, a conference that has not existed since 1996. Oh: And "J.D. Stokley."
Sentence: Ground into tapioca pudding and fed to Joe Paterno.
29. Terry Bowden
Charges: In his first season, took the Auburn Tigers to an 11-0 record with Pat Dye's players, then immediately started steering the team downhill with his own guys. When he lost, he dodged responsibility like Deion Sanders avoiding contact, piling blame on his players or assistants but almost never accepting any himself. After being fired, could have gone gently into that good night but instead took his Campbell's-Soup-kid-like visage to ABC Sports, where he actually succeeded in making Craig James look deep and insightful.
Exhibit A: Not once in his ABC career has he been able to mention Bobby Bowden's name without adding the modifier "my diddy."
Sentence: TP'ed by Auburn students at Toomer's Corner and set ablaze.
28. Steve Spurrier
Charges: He was certainly loathsome when he was running up insane scores on opponents and laughing about it afterward at Florida, but at least you had to respect him. That's no longer the case now that he's struggling in the festering pit of Columbia, South Carolina, perhaps even more insufferable than before as he continues to cart around his planet-sized ego even though he no longer has the weapons to back it up. Has gone from gridiron death, destroyer of worlds, to dyspeptic codger who'll blame anyone from his (admittedly turd-witted) players to the refs to his own coaching staff for his frustrations. Traded volcanic visor-throwing for the fixed, constipated grimace of someone who wants to drop 70 points on somebody but can't and is furious at the world about it.
Exhibit A: Almost lost to Wofford. Wofford.
Sentence: Forced to open the 2007 season against a team composed of everybody who was playing on the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers.
27. Dennis Franchione
Charges: Brings the massive-ego-with-no-real-accomplishment-to-back-it-up steez prevalent in so many players to the coaching ranks, with repeatedly humiliating results. Declared his intentions to take Texas A&M back to the pinnacle of college football; has instead led them to a four-year record (25-23) worse than what his predecessor put up in his final four years in College Station. When fan displeasure with his mediocrity reached a fever pitch following a blowout loss to Iowa State in 2005, he posted a lengthy missive on his Web site basically informing the fans that they didn't know what the fuck they were talking about. And that's even before we get to him buggering out of Tuscaloosa without so much as telling his former players first, leaving them to find out about it from the local news stations.
Exhibit A: While getting horsewhipped by Colorado in a 2005 road game, quarterback Reggie McNeal visibly rolled his eyes at one of Franchione's play calls in the huddle.
Sentence: Nuts placed in vise, squeezed.
26. Mal Moore
Charges: Has used his Bear Bryant connections to coast on a stretch of failure and incompetence that would've gotten just about any other AD in the country fired. Hired Dennis Franchione by skirting the truth about just how severely Bama was about to get whacked by NCAA sanctions; when Franchione bolted, hired Mike Price, then axed him in the middle of the offseason for getting too friendly with a stripper; hurriedly replaced him with Mike Shula, then shit-cannned him for losing to Auburn, without having the remotest idea who his replacement was going to be. Misfired repeatedly in that search and only saved face by employing the college-football equivalent of the nuclear option -- throwing cubic yards of money at an NFL coach fresh off of digging his team into a Chicxulub-sized crater. Yet just to show that he could even fuck that up, he forgot to handcuff his notoriously short-tenured new hire into any kind of buyout clause whatsoever.
Exhibit A: Fired Shula without having a replacement lined up; offered the job to Rich Rodriguez not knowing whether he'd take it; told everybody he'd offered the job to Rodriguez not knowing whether he was taking it (which, embarrassingly, he was not).
Sentence: Losing to Auburn in 10 months, having to acquiesce to the inevitable demands that Nick Saban get fired for it, and then having to pay the remaining $36 million of Saban's contract out of his own pocket.
25. Big & Rich
Charges: Taking something beautiful -- ESPN's "College Gameday" -- and besmirching it with an eardrum-searing, nonsensical pop-country theme song that precisely nobody in America will profess to liking, and that robustly reinforces effete Volvo-driving Northeastern liberals' impression of Southerners as drooling, taste-deprived idiots. Honestly, it's like painting a tallboy of Thunderbird into the hand of the Mona Lisa. In some jurisdictions, "Comin' . . . to your ci-taaaayyyy" could be interpreted as a terroristic threat.
Exhibit A: "We'll all be flyin' higher than a jet airliner/And if you want a little bang in your ying yang/If you want a little zing in your zang zang/If you want a little ching in your chang chang/Come along."
Sentence: Strapped into the wreckage of Patsy Cline's plane and pushed out the back of a C-17 at 35,000 feet.
Charges: For decades they've comprehensively ruined at least a handful of big games every season through their myopia and/or inattentiveness, and now that they have instant replay to assist them, they're still fucking up. Adhere to a bizarre system whereby individual conferences field their own officiating crews. Wield the cudgel of pass interference as arbitrarily as a six-year-old buying up properties in his first game of Monopoly.
Exhibit A: Oklahoma-Oregon. Auburn-LSU. Auburn-Florida. Colorado's fifth down. JASPER WAS DOWN, BITCH!!1!!1!!
Sentence: A Ludovico treatment consisting of the 2005 Alamo Bowl on perpetual loop, backed by a soundtrack of eardrum-piercing whistle blows.
23. Reggie Ball
Charges: OK, maybe this is just the residual contempt of a UGA fan talking here, but few players have ever done as much shit-talking -- to opposing players, to opposing coaches, even to the fricking refs -- with as little actual ability to back it up as Game Ball. Jabbers conspicuously to anyone within earshot after every single offensive play, even when he's done nothing but gain one yard on a quarterback draw, yet his career completion percentage at Georgia Tech is well below .500, and his TD/INT ratio is 57/55. Just for good measure, finished said career by getting declared academically ineligible for the Gator Bowl.
Exhibit A: Commenced his freshman year by engineering a stunning defeat of Auburn; finished it by getting yanked from the Georgia game after decking one of the Bulldogs' trainers on the sideline. (The benching was later attributed to a "concussion," one which mysteriously didn't keep Ball from standing up on chairs and hollering like a jackass for the entire second half.)
Sentence: Must give nightly full-body massages to Ryan Leaf -- with "happy ending."
22. The Downtown Athletic Club/The Yale Club
Charges: Clogging otherwise enjoyable seasons of college football with a meaningless award that, in actual practice, is nothing but the kiss of death for top NFL prospects. Feeding the codependent need of ESPN, SI.com, etc. to hype the same five or six guys all freakin' season long. Fraudulently disguising a "Best Quarterback or Running Back from a Ranked BCS Team" trophy as an award purporting to honor the nation's best overall player.
Exhibit A: Eric Crouch.
Sentence: Being subjected to audio recordings of "Beano Cook Remembers," Vols. I-XXIII, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
21. Jim Tressel
Charges: Projecting an image of stoic integrity when in fact his record has been one of virtually unrestrained player indulgence ever since his salad days at Youngstown State -- basically, he's Bobby Bowden without the personality (or liver spots). Coddled budding sociopath Maurice Clarett just long enough to ride him to a national title, then shrugged his shoulders and washed his hands of him once Clarett graduated to full-blown felonies. His very existence undermines the good reputation of sweater-vest-wearers everywhere.
Exhibit A: He'd actually be more likable, and probably not on this list at all, if he was really writing "Tressel's World."
Sentence: Strapped inside an Escalade that is then filled with concrete through the sunroof and pushed into the Olentangy.
Tomorrow: #20-#11, whose milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.