(My apologies to the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg for butchering his classic opening line from the great "Gin and Juice." The current artist Snoop Dogg is probably too busy making another Orbit, Chrysler, T-Mobile and ESPN commercial, or a TV show and another movie to notice, but I thought I'd offer an apology in hopes that he doesn't charge me $14 to use a version of his line.)
In the past five days since Alabama defeated Florida in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, the league has been overrun with all kinds of drama, turning it into a poor man's version of one of the greatest shows of our time, The O.C. I understand calling the SEC poor man's anything is debatable, given the salaries of coaches and how much money the league makes, but compared to what the Cohens and Nichols pulled in - poor (By the way, if you never watched the show, two things: One, you're depriving yourself of quality bad TV. And two, there's a 200% chance the rest of this is going to be confusing.).
Anyway, as I was saying, in five days, there are as many new plot lines in the SEC as created in a typical hour-long episode of The O.C. And just like The O.C., none of them make any damn sense to those who don't follow the SEC closely. But, and again, just like The O.C., to those who follow the league, this stuff is just like a combination of crack and PCP (without all of the side effects) and you can't wait for the next round of drama. So in order to give some perspective on the five biggest plot lines of the past five days in the SEC, I'm dialing up some plot lines from The O.C. that correspond in terms of significance and mirror the actual events. It's been a while since I've seen the show, so forgive me if I screw up some names and/or minor details.
The NCAA investigation of Tennessee's football program/The DA investigates Caleb Nichol.
As you know by now, the NCAA is looking into Tennessee's use of hostesses for football recruiting purposes. Allegedly, some hostesses drove three hours to a high school football game in which a recruit was playing and while there held up signs that encouraged him to come to Tennessee (that was a pretty generalized version of the story; you can read about all the details with the help of our friend Google). What they did is not allowed under NCAA rules, since, as an extension of the school, they are not allowed to recruit off-campus.
Every school has these hostess programs in one form or another. They find attractive girls who are willing to be around 17 and 18-year old football players (sounds like a great time) and tell them all the wonderful things their school has to offer, and do so in a very friendly manner. It happens everywhere. It's like when Caleb was under indictment for some sort of bribery charge in one of his preposterously vague real estate development dealings. We all knew he was guilty, but what real estate developer doesn't hand out cash to make things go. As Kramer from Seinfeld once said, "This is how society functions!"
(If you're keeping score, I just used two TV shows to help drive home a point. And also, just what the hell did The Newport Group ever do for Orange County? They always talked about how prominent the group was, but I don't recall them ever doing anything important. I remember them wanting to build some hospital that was going to change the world for wealthy white people and they were always in business proposal meetings, but NEVER DID WE SEE THEM FOLLOW THROUGH. No wonder they eventually went in bankruptcy. And yes, I realize the stupidity in poking holes in a show aimed at teenage and college girls.)
Houston Nutt talks with Kansas/Marissa Cooper looks for a loser.
Nutt admitted this week that he was contacted by Kansas about the possibility of him leaving Ole Miss for the cold, flat, field-filled state that is Kansas. After letting it drag out for a day, Nutt let them know he was not interested in the job. This was not so much him being interested in that job, but a very public attempt to get Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone's attention and let him know that he wasn't happy with some of Boone's ass-dragging.
In much the same way, Marissa, one of the worst characters in the history of television (note: Houston Nutt is not terrible), was always chasing one loser boyfriend after another. Off the top of my head, here's her list of losers:
-Volchok, the poor man's Bodhi from Point Break
-The guy who did yardwork for her mom
-Johnny, the wannabe professional surfer who was mercifully hit by a car and put out of his misery. Or maybe he fell off a cliff. Either way, I was happy when he was gone.
I'm sure there were more, but I can't remember all of them. The point is, all of these guys sucked. They brought nothing to the table and it was terribly painful to see any of them on TV for more than eight seconds. But it wasn't so much that she was interested in these guys. She was interested in getting her mom's attention so that she would stop being such a sucky mom and attend to her duties as a parent. Had Julie Cooper not been one of the worst mom's ever, we would not have been subjected to three of the worst characters ever.
Charlie Strong leaves for Louisville/Caleb leaves for Lost.
The Florida defensive coordinator finally got a head coaching position, which means 80% of sportswriters in the Southeast will now have to come up with new columns in December to replace their annual "Charlie Strong deserves to be a head coach" column. And we get to see if Strong will actually be a good head coach as we've been told he will be over 75,000 times in the last five to six years. Anyway, he's been a defensive coordinator in the SEC since 1999 and, as I mentioned, a familiar name any time there's a coaching vacancy. It's hard to believe he won't be around anymore.
Just like Caleb after Season Two (I think). He became such a prominent character with story lines always involving him in some fashion that it was hard to believe he was written out of the show. His icy demeanor and hating everyone attitude was always enjoyable to watch, as I'm pretty sure every actor on the show was really afraid of him. But it was time for him to move on to bigger and better things, which I think we can all say Lost is (And I believe we're finally inside of two months from the start of the final season. What a glorious three-ish months that's going to be.).
Urban Meyer hospitalized/Ryan hospitalized after an earthquake.
Mayer was admitted and released from an Atlanta hospital following the SEC Championship game. While there, he was treated for dehydration and chest pains. I'm sure it was initially a little scary, but Meyer is a cyborg and little things like that are not going to bring him down. One of those EMP charges or perhaps another cyborg might eventually do him in, but human weaknesses? Please.
And like Meyer, Ryan Atwood was much too important and invincible to be taken down by a piece of glass in his back or whatever actually hurt him in that earthquake. Yes, he went to the hospital and maybe even went into a coma, but we all knew he was going to be fine. He already destroyed most of the opposition he faced, including rich and poor punks of Orange County, homelessness and poverty, so there was no way he was losing this battle. Plus, who the hell was going to carry the show if he died? HE WAS TERRIBLE BUT HE WAS THE SHOW.
Tennessee assistants leaving for other jobs/Julie Cooper and Ryan upgrading significant others.
Tennessee receivers coach Frank Wilson and running backs coach Eddie Gran both left the Vols for jobs at LSU and Florida State, respectively. All signs point to them getting off a sinking ship, which is an Ed Orgeron specialty, while upgrading their careers. Hard to believe they would leave behind all the money that helps make up the highest paid assistant coaching staff in the country, but they eventually came to their senses.
As did Julie and Ryan while looking for that special someone. Julie was divorced and fooling around with whatever would pay attention to her. Eventually, she got her claws into Caleb and became a part of a household that had eleventy billion dollars and a much brighter future. Ryan spent some time hanging out with a girl from his physics class, who also happened to be Caleb's illegitimate granddaughter (I tell you, this show was fascinating). She also lived alone with her mom and was, ugh, poor. Had she not left and he still was dating her, he was going to have to plow through a minefield of issues with this girl. That would have been awful TV. Luckily, he jumped off that ship and at first upgraded to dating no one. Seriously, an upgrade over physics girl. Eventually, he found Taylor, who, while highly annoying at times and a little crazy, at least had herself together.
So there it is. 1500 words on the latest round of drama in the SEC as it relates to a show aimed at a teenage and college audience that was also canceled almost three years ago. For the next round of drama, let's see if I can't figure a way to make Gossip Girl relate.