Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The 12 Steps for Dealing With the New Taunting Rule

You've probably forgotten by now, since the revised taunting rule came out ALL the way back in April, so here's a brief reminder of the new taunting rule that your team will most likely break if they have a history of consistently doing dumb things at the worst possible moment:
"If a player makes a taunting gesture to an opponent on the way to scoring a touchdown, the flag would nullify the score and penalize the offending team 15 yards from the spot of the foul."
To help you survive such a likely happening and not end up dead on your floor with an exploded head, I've put together a list of steps to ensure that you live to see your team immediately commit a turnover after the penalty or miss the field goal four plays after the penalty. To be fair, none of these steps will apply if the touchdown wiped off the board happens in the final minute of the game because, more than likely, you, someone watching with you, or the television will be in the process of being savagely beaten, thus negating any chance for self-control.

1. Shriek

2. Shriek again (the higher pitched the better)

3. Do your best movie impression where the actor/actress screams "NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" as someone they love is blown up and killed

4. Throw something (NOT THE REMOTE; you cannot watch TV properly without a functioning remote; go to Walmart and buy 10 dummy remotes which can all be broken without repercussions, unless windows or sheetrock is involved)

5. Stand behind the couch; it lets your TV know just how mad you are

6. Curse the player, the coach for recruiting him, the player again, his hometown, his high school, the player again, the announcers just because, the coach again, the picture on the wall that always seems to be crooked, the player again, the officials, the coach one more time, anyone who calls you to see what you're doing, and the player one final time

7.  Leave the room for more than five seconds, but not less than 10 seconds

8.  Return to the room with full authority, perhaps even with a stomp or two

9.  Resume cursing and/or angry indecipherable noise-making

10. Finally sit down in a raging silence

11. 30 minutes after the game has ended, assure the police and/or neighbors who show up at your front door that no one has been murdered and that, yes, you know that you have a sickness, but it would be made all better if you didn't have to support a team made up of so many dumbasses

12.  Apologize to everyone you offended, which will be everyone you know

Commit these steps to memory because when this goes down, and it will go down, there will be no time for considered thought.  These steps must become your natural reaction in order for you to recall with great anger many years from now about that one time your team lost a game because of that idiot wide receiver whose name you will never forget.

Three Days

Another YouTube comment:
"Who cares if they're heavy metal or not, they're brilliant and that's all that matters."

Wait, was there a moment in time when there was a question that they could be heavy metal? Did I miss this? I assumed "Final Countdown" was their pinnacle of edginess. Perhaps, given the sound of '80s music, they were probably considered a little heavy, well, at least until Guns n' Roses came along and melted everyone's face off.

#3 Alabama

Peter Venkman
Joe Namath once said that the only way he could relax was with “a girl and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red.” Touché, Joe. Touché.

I've been to Tuscaloosa six times to watch Ole Miss lose. Two times I saw Alabama nap through the first 20 minutes, wake up for 10 minutes to put the game away, then go back to sleep for the last half. Two times I saw a soul-removing loses in overtime. And two times I saw better Ole Miss teams get carved into tiny sushi roll pieces.

Despite a history of failure there, as well as full acceptance that Ole Miss will never win a game there as long as the sun still burns, I never have a problem with going to Tuscaloosa. Excellent atmosphere, bars within walking distance of the stadium, and those magical moments where you set up pregame shop right next to a guy who blasts classic rock all afternoon and has two satellites set up for other games.

The only drawback is being around Alabama fans all day, but when your team is terrible enough, they typically ignore you and/or cast condescending pity upon you.

Cameron Poe
(Ed: Currently saving the day at Lerner Airfield.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anyone Ever Seen Houston Nutt and Hakeem Olajuwon in the Same Place?

I don't think so.  At last, visual evidence to back my long-running theory.  JUST LOOK AT THOSE FINGERS.

(I realize I could have proven this theory to be true many months ago with a quick Google image search, but to that I say, I am incredibly lazy and forgetful.)

A Letter From Texas A&M to the Big 12

On Monday night, a New York Times report said that Texas A&M sent a letter to Missouri chancellor and Big 12 board chairman Brady Deaton to officially announce that it was leaving the Big 12.  This report sent rumors into full swirl, with the most swirling saying that today would be Texas A&M's last day in the Big 12.

Today, Texas A&M announced that it had sent no such letter and, by lack of comment, was still a member of the Big 12. Understandably, there are going to be conflicting reports when a giant thing like Texas A&M is trying to keep quiet as it lumbers around the house.  However, the Belly of the Beast has learned that A&M did in fact send a letter to Chancellor Deaton, and we have obtained a copy of the letter.  Based on the text, it appears that A&M left the letter open-ended enough that no bridges to and from the Big 12 were burned.  Or maybe it blew all of them up.  Who knows what game they're playing right now.  STOP BEING SO COY, AGGIES.

Four Days

#4 Ole Miss

Peter Venkman
The advent of Rebel Black Bear has solidified my plans to open a Road House-style bar called Kodiak Kreamery out on Highway 6. Here, Rebel the Bear will form a Chuck E. Cheese-esque band with members including, but not limited to: Rebel Land Shark (vocals), Rebel Hotty Toddy Burn Victim (vocals, keyboard), and Rebel Mojo (percussion, accordion, groupie wrangler). Our only accepted bar currency will be Confederate half-dollars.

(Ed: The Jeff Healey Band is not going to be happy about this.)

I've said this many times before, but what makes a trip to Oxford so much fun for opposing fans is that Oxford is one of the great places in America, it's better than wherever they came from, and there's a strong possibility their team is going to win the game. However, it falls from the top of these rankings because there is little to no advantage to play in Oxford (for Ole Miss). We play better in Shreveport (undefeated since 1986!) than Oxford. Yes, the revelry of the Square and Grove combination has no equal, but in terms of winning football games, it's worthless.

So if you're a fan of another school, enjoy our town and your probable victory, we'll be busy making sure the bullshit party isn't lost.

Cameron Poe
If you go to Oxford, you will see a lot of babes, you will drink a lot of booze, and your team will probably win.

Monday, August 29, 2011

SEC 101 for Visiting Fans This Weekend

Let it never be said that I have never given back, for even if I do it just once, it can never be said because I will have done it.  Anyway, the first weekend of college football is nearly upon us, and since it's the first week, most teams in the SEC will be playing teams that rarely to never visit SEC stadiums.  To assist the fans of these schools who wisely chose to spend a weekend at an SEC venue and not sitting at home, I offer a few pointers on wherever you may be.

General Advice for Those Not From the South
-To prepare yourself for the brutality of humidity, I suggest soaking a shirt in warm water, then put it on.  This will simulate the end of hour number one of being outside.  To simulate whatever faint breeze might kick up, have a friend get directly in your face and repeatedly breathe on you.  After 10 seconds, do not punch your friend in the face because you will not be able to punch the wind in the face either.
-Do not be alarmed if your urine remains a dark yellow color until Monday afternoon.  That is simply your body's way of telling you "NEVER GO BACK THERE AGAIN."  Give it nine gallons of water to make up for what you lost in the stadium and you'll be back on good terms.
-Air conditioners in hotel rooms and rental cars are capable of creating temperatures lower than 75 degrees.  Use them liberally. I suggest knocking it down to the lowest setting, then mashing the button a few more times in hopes that it might get even colder. It usually never works, but it does let the air conditioner know you mean business.

Utah State fans (at Auburn)
-Assuming you fly into Birmingham, 280 is not a government experiment to find out how many traffic lights can be placed on a major strip of highway before average citizens step up from road rage to road everyone-must-die
-Assuming you fly into Atlanta, I-85's speed limit is not 117 mph, but recommended if you'd like to stay on the road
-Those Toomer's Corner trees you've heard so much about do not talk, dance, or put on a three-act play.  They are like all the other trees you've ever seen, except older and less scraggly than those of Utah.

Kent State fans (at Alabama)
-Do not be fooled (and you will be tested), Bear Bryant really is dead
-Yes, we all know Antonio Gates played at your school

BYU fans (at Ole Miss)
-If you find yourself in a town called Starkville, you have made the same mistake as 99% of national media types and incorrectly identified the Mississippi school you meant to identify.  Do not worry, this happens all the time.  Turn around and go about an hour and a half-ish to the northwest to arrive at your correct destination.
-And you thought your state and county alcohol laws sucked
-Stay, eat, and drink freely in the Grove, in fact, just bypass the stadium completely.  This gives our fans a chance to be louder than the opposing fans.
-For inspiration, when I lived in Oxford, we had a couple of Mormon missionaries come to the door one horrifically hot summer day.  They appeared to be on the verge of melting, so we invited them in for some AC and ice water (note:  They also watched TV, which I'm not sure if it violates any rules on their mission).  After about 15 minutes or so, they felt recharged enough to go back out and knock on more doors.  So, drawing from their tale of survival, assuming they didn't die a few houses down, you too can make it through Saturday....

...Son of a bitch, you lucky bastards are going to get away with it only being in the upper 80s this weekend, with some cloud cover.  AND SO IT GOES WITH OLE MISS.

Montana fans (at Tennessee)
-If you ever had a soft spot for the song "Rocky Top" in your heart, that spot will become calcified by the second quarter

Missouri State fans (at Arkansas)
-Houston Nutt is not employed by Arkansas, nor has he been since 2007
-No, those receivers are not on loan from the Cowboys; they're WAY better than them

Florida Atlantic fans (at Florida)
-I believe everyone here knows each other

East Carolina fans (at South Carolina)
-I know, the parking lots, right?

Elon fans (at Vandy)
*Game will not actually take place except on NCAA '12 for XBox 360

US Open Preview

Personally, I don't get into the tennis all that much.  I'll watch parts of the major tournaments, but I'm much too unrefined to appreciate the delicate balance of power, speed, and individual creativity and craftsmanship the sport breeds (though, a few years ago, I was unemployed during the Australian Open and found myself staying up until four or five in the morning watching EVERY match that was on TV; and I haven't recovered from it since).

But Venkman doesn't operate like me.  He appreciates the finer things:  art, crisply pressed pants, meats and cheeses with wine, and the McEnroe brothers breaking down Roger Federer's latest loss.  With that, he offers a lesson on this year's US Open.

Alas, it is that time of year again when everyone has fuzzy little balls on the brain. The fourth and final major tennis tournament of the year, the US Open, begins on Monday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York. And if your anything like me, you’ve got a crap-ton of money in play with your local bookie as to the outcome of this hallowed tournament. Well, rest easy this year, because Uncle Venkman here to make sure you spend those dollars wisely. I’m about to take all the guess work out of the equation when it comes to betting on professional tennis (I know this has been keeping you up nights).

Those With a Legitimate Shot

1. Novak Djokovic

ATP Ranking: 1
2011 Record: 57-2
2011 Prize Money: $8,306,718
Best finish at US Open: Finalist 2007, 2010
Major Titles Won: Australian Open 2008, 2011; Wimbledon 2011

The Djoker is currently enjoying the most dominant season of tennis since John McEnroe finished the 1984 season with a cool 82-3 singles record in a year when he won both Wimbledon and US Open crowns. Should Djokovic go on to win the US Open, he would hold the titles of three out of four Grand Slams in one calendar year and have a very strong claim to the greatest individual season in the history of tennis.

What Novak has done in 2011 is nothing short of miraculous. Oddly enough, he attributes much of his newfound success to a new gluten-free diet. In case you were wondering, gluten can be found in pretty much every item in the grocery store, which leads me to believe the Serb sold his soul to the Prince of Darkness prior to the 2011 campaign. Regardless of his extra-curricular activities, Djokovic will be the odds-on favorite to win at Flushing Meadows.

2. Rafael Nadal
ATP Ranking: 2
2011 Record: 53-10
2011 Prize Money: $5,336,329
Best finish at US Open: Champion 2010
Major Titles Won: Australian Open 2009; French Open 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 Wimbledon 2008, 2010; US Open 2010

Any other tour pro would kill puppies for the year Nadal has had thus far, but the fact that he is 0-5 against Djokovic in 2011 makes this a very bleak year for the Spaniard. And to go ahead and twist the knife, all five of these losses occurred in the finals of a huge tournament with a massive purse: Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, and the finals of Wimbledon. Expect Rafa to make the finals, but unless he brings something else to the party he’ll be handed ass-beating number six, courtesy of Derek Zoolander.

3. Roger Federer
ATP Ranking: 3
2011 Record: 42-11
2011 Prize Money: $2,596,439
Best finish at US Open: Champion 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Major Titles Won: Australian Open 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010; French Open 2009; Wimbledon 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 US Open 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

Federer is on this list for one reason and one reason only: He holds more Grand Slam titles than anyone else in the history of the game. However, now 30 years of age, Club Fed hasn’t won a major title since January 2010. Also, Federer’s inability to best Nadal in a meaningful match raises an interesting question: Can a player really be considered the greatest of all time while being totally dominated by his closest rival?

Personally, I think Fed is kind of a douche and men who don’t sweat during physical activity are not to be trusted. Had he played in the era of Pete Sampras, I have no doubt Pistol Pete would have dominated Fed on the faster surfaces (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open). And, to put this matter to bed, Pete went out and locked down Veronica Vaughn. Fancy-pants Federer prefers to be the only tennis player ever to not take the model or supermodel path.

4. Mardy Fish
ATP Ranking: 8
2011 Record: 36-17
2011 Prize Money: $1,213,426
Best finish at US Open: Quarterfinalist 2008
Major Titles Won: none

Prior to undergoing knee surgery in the fall of 2009, Mardy Fish was hovering around #100 in the world and had never met a buffet line that wasn’t to his liking. Post-surgery, Fish dropped from 210 to 175 lbs and decided he wanted to make some serious cash on the tennis court. Mardy has been dominant during the summer hard court season, bagging a title in Atlanta and making the finals of Los Angeles and Montreal. At 29 years of age, this could be one of his few remaining chances to make a major final, but if not, he still gets to go home to his model wife.

Not a Snowball’s Chance in Hell

1.  Andy Roddick
ATP Ranking:  21
2011 Record:  22-10
2011 Prize Money:  $630,592
Best finish at US Open:  Champion 2003
Major Titles Won:  US Open 2003

“Andy is just so unlucky!”
“He tries so hard.”
“That guy just wears his heart on his sleeve.”
“He’s a blue-collar tennis player.”
“If Andy had played in another era, he would have at least 8 Grand Slam titles.”

Bullshit.  Roddick had a great serve and NOTHING else.  You can find better backhands at your local club.  Though he pimps French brands and fell ass-backwards into marrying one of the hottest women on the face of the earth, he’ll go down as one of the biggest disappointments of modern American tennis if for no other reason than the fact that thousands of children modeled their game after his own- all flash, no substance. 

(Ed:  I was unaware Roddick could inspire such emotion.)

2.  Gael Monfil

ATP Ranking:  7
2011 Record:  29-12
2011 Prize Money:  $824,423
Best finish at US Open:  Quarterfinalist 2010
Major Titles Won:  none

I just wanted an excuse to post this picture.

3. Andy Murray
ATP Ranking: 4
2011 Record: 34-10
2011 Prize Money: $3,016,664
Best finish at US Open: Finalist 2008
Major Titles Won: none

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wets the bed like Andy Murray. In three Grand Slam final appearances, Murray has won 31 games to his opponents’ 54.

4. Tommy Haas
ATP Ranking: 477
2011 Record: 2-8
2011 Prize Money: $98,687
Best finish at US Open: Quarterfinalist 2004, 2006, 2007
Major Titles Won: none

The former world #2 has struggled mightily this year after enduring season-ending hip and elbow surgeries during the 2010 campaign. It is highly unlikely that he’ll make any noise at the Open due to the fact that he didn’t receive an invitation to the tournament. Haas relied on wild card entries into most of the summer warm-up tournaments and failed to advance past the first round in 99.99999999% of these. Consequently, the US Open entry committee declined to punch his dance card. When asked for comment, Tommy waved a dismissive hand as he climbed into the back of a limo with seven European models.

Five Days

For #5 Auburn, we go with a subdued, less sex, drugs, and rock n' roll version of Final Countdown, as Gene Chizik has no tolerance for the devil's music. After all, if God-things are to keep taking place at Auburn football games, electric guitars and stage moves cannot be present.

Peter Venkman
Although I generally dislike the Plainsmen in all categories, you have to admit there’s something unique and kinda cool about the pregame routine where Auburn’s eagle, Spirit, flies around Jordan-Hare with reckless abandon before landing on the arm of The Falconer.  It is, however, regrettable that the eagle has never gotten in a MacGruber-style throat rip on her way down to the field. (Still searching for a third Will Forte character reference).

Cameron Poe
God is an Auburn fan. How do I know that? Gene Chizik told me. It was a shock to me because I don't remember Auburn University being mentioned in the Bible, but after last season, I believe him.

I would advise only going to Auburn for the game because the bars and nightlife suck, which isn't surprising as most Auburn fans are good, clean living people. The pregame atmosphere at Auburn is very good. They have a good tailgating scene and the eagle flying into the stadium is worth seeing. So if you can come to grips with the fact that God doesn't cheer for your team, I would recommend at least one trip to the Loveliest Village on the Plains.

Of the remaining five schools, you really can't go wrong with a trip to each of those places. There are negatives to all of them, but for the most part, it's a trip worth making (unless it's 2001 at Auburn and your coach is David Cutcliffe and he spends an entire half keeping Eli Manning on a chain, resulting in a 21-0 deficit, then is forced to let the best player in school history start throwing, but it turns out to be too little too late, resulting in a 27-21 loss in which he also called for a punt block with a minute to go, instead of taking the ball near midfield with an on fire quarterback; you guessed it, the punter was roughed and the game was over).

Pro tip: It's probably not healthy to become incredibly angry at 9 in the morning over something that happened nearly 10 years ago.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Six Days

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that Europeans are huge fans of a band named after their continent, but holy crap, those people just went ape shit for almost six straight minutes.  And another tip of the hat to YouTube commenters for referring to this song as "the most famous song ever written."


#6 Florida

Peter Venkman
One time I saw Tim Tebow outside of The Red Bar wearing jorts and orange crocs. Kyle Orton wouldn’t be caught dead in that.

Cameron Poe
I like all levels of football, but I'm only addicted to college football. I've watched four high school games and three replays of NFL preseason games since Thursday. This is like a heroin addict trying to get his fix from methadone. It keeps the shakes away, but you can't get high.

(Ed: Four high school games and three preseason games? I see crystal meth has no effect on you.)

While thinking about my trip to Gainesville, I had the privilege of remembering the Ron Zook era at Florida. FANTASTIC times for everyone who doesn't care about Florida. And my memory could be failing me, but I think Zook was the first coach Sylvester Croom sent to the unemployment line, during the Crooming outbreak of the mid-2000s.

Also, either Florida doesn't have campus security or they were all at the bar, but running around on the football team's practice fields and the O'Connell Center at 1:30 in the morning with a six pack of Budweiser the night before a game is apparently perfectly acceptable down there.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seven Days

And the YouTube commenters are on fire!
From libatako3:
"This is the best intro song for everything......funeral?...dam­n right...baptism? hell yeah!  circumcision? you know it!"

#7 Tennessee

Peter Venkman
I once spent four hours on a motorboat outside of Neyland Stadium with two middle-aged lesbians.  That is all.

Cameron Poe
I was going to put together a manifesto on why Tennessee sucks, but I hate so many things about Tennessee that my post exceeded the space that I'm allotted on the Beast.  So just know that I hate Tennessee very, very much.

As for the trip, I suggest that you get to at least half-marathon level shape before you head to Knoxville.  The ramp to the upper deck at Neyland Stadium is the longest and steepest ramp in the SEC.  It is a great physical achievement to reach the summit. The ramp has been called "The Stairway to Heaven" because several fat ass fans each year actually meet their maker when their hearts give out on the perilous trek.  Speaking of fat, Fat Phil was a real a turd.  I'm glad I don't have to see his fat face anymore.

I remember thinking at one point in my life how cool you would be if you could casually mention to everyone within earshot that you'd scaled K-2 or some other mountain that screams "that's right, I am a badass." Then I hiked up that damn ramp to the top of Neyland Stadium.  My dreams of being a mountain climber died that day.

Much like watching a game in which Ed Orgeron is making important decisions, I never want to be a part of that again.  However, it's worth the trip to Neyland to take in what I think is the closest thing America has to the Roman Coliseum.  Well, minus the missing sections, history of brutal murder and sacrifice, and giant prisons beneath the playing surface.  But, one thing the Romans never had:  Trooper Taylor furiously waving a towel and jump-chest bumping people.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Enjoy Your Last Weekend Free of Stress and Rage

Starting next weekend, all of those good feelings and general boredom come to a screeching halt, as we embark on one of the greatest challenges man can face:  enduring a college football season.  So if you've got anything important to do, I suggest you knock it out this weekend or it's not getting done until December at the earliest.  For example, I've got to find a new couch so that I can have a place to fully recline, other than the floor (which is still in play), while taking in all 12-14 hours of games.  If I don't get that done, I could set a new personal record for pacing and lying on a hardwood floor.

So whatever it is you need to do, DO IT, including saying goodbye to family and friends (unless they are just as sick as you are, then you'll have plenty of time to talk, but it will be about nothing meaningful).  If you have nothing to do, other than wait, one of our new contributors offers a questionable at best way to pass the time in seeing Green Lantern.  Yes, it came out weeks ago, but that's what makes seeing it now such a better use of wasting time.  To push you in that direction, here's Venkman's review.

Green Lantern is a Shitpile
By Peter Venkman

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a cock-sure test pilot for Ferris Aviation, and he wants to fly your plane, girl. In his first day on screen, Hal wakes up next to a bangin’ blonde (one-night stand) whom he invites to drink “water from his tap”, shows up significantly late to work on a day when he is scheduled to fly an uber-experimental aircraft in front of some government big-wigs, promptly crashes (unnecessarily) said aircraft, arrives late to his nephew’s birthday party, then inherits a green power ring-pop from a dying alien, Abin Sur (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Barney the dinosaur).

So, for future reference, you should never enter into a theater expecting to witness the heart-warming tale of a responsible, rule-abiding, mild-mannered test pilot- in fact, this person does not exist. If Top Gun, Air America, Iron Eagle, Firebirds, Fire Fox, Pearl Harbor, Stealth and Starship Troopers have taught us anything, it’s that pilots are acutely incapable of adhering to the norms of society because, dammit, they’d lose the edge!

Anyway, unbeknownst to Hal, shit’s about to get real on planet Oa (just go with it). The Yellow-essence of fear, “Parallax”, as represented by a gaseous yellow fart, has escaped from prison (didn’t see that coming) and has decided to scare the people of Earth shitless. Clearly, the only way to combat the evil Parallax is with the Green gaseous fart, “Will Power”, as produced by the green ring-pops of the Green Lantern Corps.

Back on Earth, Dreamboat Reynolds is fighting a losing battle as he tries to split time between his renewed romantic interest and fellow test-pilot, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively, who I would have rather watched read names from the phonebook for two hours), and his hard-core Green Lantern Will Power training montages with Tomar-Re (an actual chicken), Kilowog (?), and Sinestro (a handsome devil). As Yellow Fart draws closer to Earth, Sinestro asks the Guardians to fashion a Yellow-Fart-Fear-Ring as, in his reddish noggin, this is the only way to defeat Parallax.

It is here at the close of Act II that H-Jordan heeds the call to heroism and announces to the Guardians that it is ludicrous to fight fear with fear because then the Yellow Fart wins! In a clear-cut case of paper beats rock, Hal explains that his Green Will Power Farts will trump Parallax’s Yellow Fear Farts every time, essentially because it’s the American Way. And wouldn’t you know it, Van Wilder lassos Parallax with his Green Will Power Fart Rope and throws Yellow Fart into the yellow Sun. (Yellow does beat Yellow?)

Scouring the Internets, the vast majority of critics would have you believe that Green Lantern’s greatest failure was cheesy special effects. This is a lazy, bullshit answer. The alien planet Oa didn’t look very realistic to you, but you were fine with cinematic depictions of Krypton? Audiences will employ a suspension of disbelief for almost anything as long as the story and direction are decent, but unfortunately, this film possesses neither. Let’s examine Lantern director Martin Campbell’s previous 10 films:

Film     Budget (Millions)     Worldwide Gross:

1. Edge of Darkness     60     81
2. Casino Royale     150     594
3. The Legend of Zorro     75     74
4. Beyond Borders     35     12
5. Vertical Limit     75     215
6. The Mask of Zorro     65     140
7. Goldeneye     60     350
8. No Escape     20     15
9. Defenseless     n/a     6
10. Criminal Law     n/a     10

(Ed: Pretty sure those last two aren't films, but classes taught at your local YMCA.)

In short, only 5 of Campbell’s 10 previous films turned a profit, two of these being James Bond films, which I’m inclined to throw out altogether. The cinematic and woman-“shlapping” exploits of Sir Sean Connery have pretty much ensured that audiences will always turn up in droves for any Bond film, no matter who dons the tuxedo. His other money-earners were a critically-panned Edge of Darkness, the Zorro re-boot, Legend of Zorro, and the Chris O’Donnell actioner Vertical Limit (WTF?). Regardless, some high-ranking executive at Warner Brothers decided this was the man to entrust with 250+ million dollars and DC comics’ third most popular property (arguably) behind Batman and Superman.

Even more troubling is the indefensible writing team of Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, and Michael Goldenberg (side-note: any screenplay with 4 credited writers is a sure-fire disaster). I have broken down their greatest achievements prior to Lantern:

Greg Berlanti:  Dawson’s Creek, Jack and Bobby
Michael Green:  Heroes, Jack and Bobby
Marc Guggenheim:  Eli Stone, Jack and Bobby
Michael Goldenberg:  Contact, Peter Pan

(Ed:  Note to self:  Don't watch Jack and Bobby.)

Clearly, the writing heavyweight in this group is Mr. Goldenberg, if for no other reason than the fact that he alone had absolutely nothing to do with the ill-fated WB series, Jack and Bobby (2004), of which IMDB offers the following indecipherable plot summary:

“Faux documentary series from 2049 about Bobby McCallister, the US president elected eight years earlier, and his older brother Jack. Talking head interviews with Bobby's staff are combined with reenactment footage of the McCallisters' teenage years, dealing with a pot smoking mother and typical high school drama. Also explored is Jack's tentative romance with Courtney Benedict, who would eventually become Bobby's first lady.”

Why this smart political teen-drama is no longer on the air, I have no idea- everyone knows the WB’s coveted demographic was elbow deep into “rockin’ the vote” and “voting or dying” in 2004. What I do know is that Berlanti, Green, and Guggenheim must have learned of an executive's love of puppycide and taunting old people, and used their new-found knowledge to land the writing job of their dreams, which brings us to the final reason Green Lantern was a complete disaster:  the entire story is built around the notion that fear is always bad and willpower is always good. I will now debunk this premise in 3 sentences:

I would imagine it takes an astoundingly large measure of willpower for a sane German officer to send Jews to a gas chamber. I possess a great fear of sharks, which is why I don’t swim three miles out into the Gulf of Mexico, slit my leg, and attach a chum-sicle to my junk. Sometimes willpower is unspeakably evil, and conversely, fear can actually save your life.

Gray’s writing team of Chinese children with notepads and pencils could have penned a better script than this putrid abomination. If we’ve learned anything today, it is that talented up-and-comers in both the directing and writing fields might as well choose an alternate profession as Warner Brothers has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that they will insist on helping their own “fail upwards” to the tune of a 100 million dollar loss.

A Message From LSU Chancellor Mike Martin

To LSU friends and family:

We are all disappointed by the actions of a small group of our student-athletes that took place last week. They, in the poor decisions they made, have brought considerable shame and embarrassment to the team they represent, as well as the university community, which includes all of us.

These young men are now paying the price for their actions, a price that comes with such a responsibility to themselves, their teammates, coaches, and LSU. While punishment must be handed out, we, the LSU community, must not abandon these young men. They are a part of LSU and we must see to it that they are given the support they need during this difficult time.

I would also call on LSU fans, students, and faculty to remain calm, even though it is COMPLETELY not in your nature to do so. Yes, pretty much everything is on fire right now, but I want to reassure you that everything will be fine because this man is in charge:

Coach Miles has been busy developing a contingency plan since he was made aware of these developments last week. Though he will not reveal these plans to anyone other than himself, I am fully confident in his ability to bring destruction bearing down on himself, then casually sidestep it at the last second (remember the Tennessee game? Oh, what an adventure that was!). It's part of his charm that we all hold dear.

So as we get ready to face a talented Oregon team, I encourage of all of you to offer Coach Miles, his coaches, and the players your full support. If you own a phone and have electricity to make that phone work, call in to Coach Miles' call-in show and let him know you're behind the team.

Ready for an inexplicable 11-1 season with Jarrett Lee at quarterback,

Mike Martin

Eight Days

It's only fitting we match a more mature, yet still skillful version of Europe with today's team now led, or at least quarterbacked by a more mature Stephen Garcia (allegedly). At #8, it's South Carolina.

Peter Venkman
Never been. Would like to. Been too busy. Tried to join a new gym. I would like to know the story behind their state flag. Best I can tell, it’s just a palm tree under a crescent moon. I do know this: the Nazis ought to think twice before going grail-searching in the Canyon of The Crescent Moon. Didn’t work out so well last time.

Cameron Poe
South Carolina may be better known as the home of the ESU Timberwolves. If you like tailgating in parking lots of industrial warehouses, then you will love a game at Carolina. Instead of tailgating in front of historic campus buildings or under some 100-year-old oaks, it's butler buildings as far as you can see in Columbia.

This stadium, the only off-campus stadium in the conference, sits in the ass crack of Columbia. You know how I know it's the ass crack of Columbia? It's located next to the fairgrounds. Every city puts the fairgrounds in a crappy area because they don't want the carnies anywhere near their homes.

The atmosphere inside the stadium is pretty good, which keeps this trip from being on the Vandy level. I am also intrigued by Carolina fans' loyal support of a historically shitty football team. They even stuck around after the 1998-1999 seasons where they won 1 game and lost 21! They lost 21 freaking games in two years. I'm not going to do any research, but I there has not been a more wretched two year run since the SEC went to 12 teams.

(Ed: Vandy in the '09 and '10 seasons came close, going 4-20 in that period. Jackie Wayne Sherrill led State to a 5-19 record from 2002-2003.)

When you witness a game in which Lou Holtz is coaching, David Cutcliffe is playing the role of mega-Steve Spurrier and rotating THREE quarterbacks in and out on every play, and Ole Miss converts a fourth and goal from the 25 (TWENTY FIVE) to essentially win the game, it scorches itself into your brain. Between traumatic flashes of Ole Miss defensive backs committing pass interference penalty after pass interference penalty and still allowing the receiver to catch the ball, I will always be able to see Ethan Flatt's (seriously, Ethan Flatt) floating pass that somehow squeezed its way into the tiny space between the cornerback and fast-closing safety. NO IDEA HOW IT ALL WORKED OUT.

I also enjoyed the idea of my pregame festivities taking place in one of these:

Unfortunately, I was in the 99% of people who did not have access to a caboose, so, like virtually everyone else, I milled around in various parking lots like I was at an Ohio State game.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Tumblr Page Coming Soon

Working Title:
Coaches Watching Cows Get Milked

Stolen from here

Admittedly, it's a little lean on content right now, but I don't recall Nic Cage building his empire in a Thursday afternoon either.

Behold, A Pale Horse

And his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

Rest easy, Georgia fans. Though the pale horse and Death will come riding into the Georgia Dome in their uniforms of white death, ready to crush you beneath fiery hooves, Aaron Murray has already looked into the eyes of the Beast and lived* to tell the tale.

*Living did include adjustments to the knee and spinal column.

Nine Days

Read through most YouTube comments and you'll grow 45% dumber and at least 25% more racist. But, of the millions of comments, every so often, one soul out there in cyberspace speaks to the heart of a video, and gives the world a description that could only be written by a very select group of scribes. We should consider ourselves lucky that SmileAtGunpoint took the time to wax poetic about this video when he said:

"I dont give a shit what everyone else thinks - Europe put on a good show."

Indeed, sir.

#9 Arkansas

Peter Venkman
About the only thing I remember from a fall 2002 trip to Fayetteville was strolling through Donald W. Reynolds Stadium on Friday afternoon and watching two to three minutes of The Lord of The Rings – Fellowship of The Ring on the 30 by 107 ft video display (the largest in the world at that time). That evening our party decided to go ahead and ride the snake by subjecting ourselves to the “Hour of Power”: one shot of beer every minute for exactly one hour. When I came to, I was sitting in my 8 AM Irish Lit class with a hand-made placard in front of me that read, “NOT PREPARED.” Also, TLOTR blows regardless of screen size.

(Ed: At least the Irish Lit portion of this story is made up. Everyone knows the Irish can't read or write.)

Cameron Poe
The Fayetteville trip exceeded all of my expectations. The Ozarks are beautiful, the campus is nice, and the football stadium is top notch. The stadium experience was the biggest surprise of the trip. Razorback Stadium has wide concourses and ample restrooms, which is something that cannot be said of most SEC venues. The scoreboard is really, really big. It is so big that you have to force yourself to watch the game instead of the scoreboard. I know that other places have added huge scoreboards in recent years, but Arkansas gets credit for being the leader of the monster scoreboard craze.

An added bonus at one of the games I attended was the appearance of a streaker during the middle of the 3rd quarter. A fan, wearing nothing but a hog snout around his crotch, led overweight and out of shape stadium police on a chase across the field. That almost made up for the fact that my team sucked on that afternoon. The only downside to Fayetteville - it is a long ass way from anywhere. Fayetteville is 6.5 hours from the nearest SEC school. So be prepared for a car trip misery on the way home, especially if your team loses.

(Ed: I was there and it was most certainly the highlight of the game.)

I have three memories of my trip to Fayetteville and two of them caused me to pray for immediate murder (you guess which two):

1. Spending an unholy amount of time on I-40 was eventually, eventually rewarded with the stunning beauty of the Ozarks in late fall.

2. Arkansas scored a touchdown, kicked off, and Ronald McClendon (yet another highly recruited JUCO prospect who did nothing at Ole Miss, but would have won the Heisman at another school) touched the ball, it went into the end zone, he lazily chased after it, and a hustling Arkansas special team player fell on it before McClendon did. Result: second touchdown in two seconds by Arkansas.

3. After watching two and a half quarters of an ass-beating, I spent the next seven hours of my life trapped in a Volkswagen with four other people.

If you guessed 1 and 3, you win. I-40's uncle? Satan himself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dave Rowe Calls ESPN About a Job

Former Jefferson Pilot/Lincoln Financial/Raycom/It Starts at 11:30 color analyst Dave Rowe is back in the market for a job. His good friend and former broadcast partner, Dave Neal, has given him a number to HR at ESPN.

"Okay, let's see here,, shoot. Should have been a five."

(hangs up, tries again, dials wrong number)

"Haha! Oh, boy, that was the old office number at Jefferson. Man, can't believe I still remember that one!"

(hangs up, tries again, dials wrong number)

"Haha! Got it wrong again! That's Ace Hardware's number. What in the world am I doing!"

(hangs up, tries again, hears the computer modem sound)

"What the- oh, come on. Hey, honey?!? I need to use the phone. Can you get off the computer? I'm calling about a job. No, not at the library. The one with ESPN. I...Dave gave me the number. Said they might be interested. Yeah. Dave from the Jefferson and Lincoln days. I don't know, I haven't talked to them yet. Okay, thank you."

(dials again, hears nothing)

"Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Hello? Anyone there? Shoot."

(hangs up, dials again, hears nothing)

"Hello there? Hello? Hello? Dang it. What the heck am I doing wrong?"

(hangs up, dials again, hears nothing)

"Hello? ESPN? Hello? Can anyone hear me? This is Dave Rowe. Partner? Are you there? Anyone? Hello?"

(spends three more hours calling before his wife points out the phone was not plugged into the jack; does not get job with ESPN)

Tennessee Fans Need to Stop Talking for a While

Have you listened to a Tennessee fan recently?

"Oh, poor us, what us could else go wrong?"

"What have we done to deserve this?"
"Will we ever get back to the Citrus Bowl?"

I don't think I've ever seen a group of fans go as quickly from mildly tolerable in small doses to totally insufferable as these people (note:  Boston Red Sox fans excluded; they are kings of this mountain).  One rough patch that isn't even all that rough and these people are ready to jump into the Tennessee River from the upper deck of Neyland Stadium, though most would die from just trying to walk up the ramp to the upper deck.

I keep reading and hearing about the curse of "firing Phil Fulmer."  Let me make one small correction to that theory:  it's called the curse of "hiring Phil Fulmer."  Yes, the hiring of a man who got his job by planting a knife in his boss' back, let Trooper Taylor loose on the world, and developed one of the biggest rule-breaking programs in the country (and got away with most of it).  The debts of that 17-year line of outrageous credit have finally come due.

But the worst part for everyone who is not Tennessee is that the payments aren't even close to what should be owed.  Since Fulmer was fired in 2008, here's what Tennessee football and basketball have done:

 13-12, back-to-back bowl games

68-37, three straight NCAA Tournaments, including one Elite Eight

Obviously, 13-12 is not up to Tennessee's created standard, and two firings were involved, but that tends to happen when you hire a career 5-15 NFL coach and support a coach who lied to the NCAA.  But those dreadful NCAA sanctions set to destroy both programs?  Self-imposed recruiting restrictions are now sufficient in the eyes of the NCAA.  HOW HORRIBLE.  WE ARE SO TORMENTED.  WHEN WILL OUR DAYS OF WOE CEASE?

You want to know what torment and woe is?  Try 14-32 (6-26) in a four-year span while being led by a lifeless, mediocre, lazy coach, immediately followed by a total moron.  Try last getting into the NCAA Tournament in 2002.  Try not winning anything of jack shit significance since the 1960s.  It's...

/Houston Nutt smashes Gray in the back of the head with a chair
/begins typing

Well, now, see here, Gray.  2008, 2009, back-to-back Cotton Bowls.  Won those games.  First time in 50 years for a New Year's win.  That's a long time.  Not done until now.  Oh, hey, wow.  Look at the time.  Got to go figure out the seven unnecessary plays Zack Stoudt will play against BYU.

/steps over Gray's lifeless body and leaves
/Gray regains consciousness an hour later

Hmmm.  Well, now I can't remember where I was going with all of that.  Anyway, Tennessee fans need shut their pie holes and be thankful this will probably be their version of rock bottom.  And it might help to remember that they play in the SEC East, which gives them a puncher's chance of getting back to the glory of the Citrus Bowl.

10 Days

No need to point out the obviousness of that awesomeness, let's get right to it, #10 Kentucky:

Do you enjoy not knowing if there's a college football game going on five blocks away from where you are standing?  Do you enjoy seeing your first Kentucky fan of the day about two hours before the game starts?  Once you get to the game, do you enjoy listening to every Jock Jams CD ever made?  You don't?  Oh.  Well.  Then you would probably not like going to Kentucky, especially if your team is coached in any capacity by the Shrimp Boat Captain and being quarterbacked by Brent Schaeffer.

However, there are positives to a Kentucky trip.  Pazzo's, a pizza place fairly close to the stadium, serves tasty food and drink and is virtually empty until about two hours before the game.  Well, not totally empty, it will also contain a smattering of your school's fans who wander in, unsure if the place is open, but are reassured by the bartender who is stunned that people are seven hours early for a football game.  It also serves as a great house of consolation after the game when you get your ass kicked by Kentucky.  That's right, ass kicked by Kentucky.  A rare occurrence out in the wild, but it happens.  I was there.

One of the other positives that come from a trip to Lexington is the opportunity to tour one or more of the many distilleries that are accessible off of I-65.  Accessible does only mean that there is a road that goes to your distillery, and does not guarantee the road will be remotely straight, spacious, and not filled with 25-degree banked turns or thousands of hills.  But, if you do make it, even with a little car sickness in hand, I can vouch for the beauty of the grounds and the outstanding tour of the Maker's Mark distillery.  They'll even let you dip your purchased bottle in the wax and slam it down on the counter to give it that running wax look.

And on the way, you get to see Abraham Lincoln's birthplace.  Thanks to years of family vacations of a Griswold nature, I became one of the few people alive outside of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to see that cabin TWICE.

Peter Venkman
The closest I’ve come to watching any sporting event in Lexington was a basketball game in Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center.  Here, fans can treat themselves to a wide range of menu items from Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and the Colonel.  And you’re gonna want to wash that down with a mixed drink from the full bar overlooking the Ohio River.  It’d be like shooting fish in a barrel, save for the fact that every woman I’ve ever seen in Louisville could pass for an extra on AMC’s Walking Dead.

(Ed:  Also, don't take a cab with a certain Ole Miss coach while in Louisville)

Cameron Poe
A look inside the mind of Cameron Poe as I was supposed to be writing a post on my trip to Kentucky:

8:30 AM
What to say about Kentucky?

Didn't they have a fat quarterback?  I'll write about him because fat jokes are easy.

I've got nothing on the fat quarterback.

New idea!  I'll write about my trip to the Maker's Mark plant.  That post will write itself.

Shit! Gray is writing about the Maker's Mark plant.  That's ok, I'll write about this great pizza place in Lexington called Pazzo's.

Double shit!  Gray is also writing about Pazzo's.  Damn you, Gray!

12:15 PM
What would happen if there was an earthquake where I live? Would I poop myself?

Dear Hummingbird, break out the fine china, chill the lemonade, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree cause this boy is comin' home to his ladies, comin' home forever.

It's only been 3 days, but blogging sucks.

Drafts resignation letter.

Decides not to send resignation letter.

I'll tell Gray that my computer crashed and that I lost the best post I've ever written.

In lieu of post, I'll ask Gray to post a video of the Bluegrass Miracle as that is the most memorable thing to ever happen in Lexington.

Ed:  To soothe my anger ever so slightly, here's this video:

Of course, LSU would go on to lose AGAIN to Arkansas and somehow play in the national championship game.  The lesson as always, BURN IN A FIRE, LSU.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Know This is Two Days Old But I Don't Care

BEHOLD!  Football from the future!

A future where Georgia gets its ass handed to it in yet another game in which it decides to wear non-traditional uniforms. A future to be followed by another future in which Mark Richt is temporarily unemployed before being hired by ESPN to say nice things about all the people he used to coach against because he wants to get back into coaching. And of course that is to be followed by another future in which Georgia forgets that it needs a head coach (jersey decisions do take a tremendous amount of concentration), panics, takes a run at Jim Donnan before remembering he's got Ponzi scheme stink all over him, and then hires Terry Bowden two days before fall practice starts because he spent the last three months sleeping on Michael Adams' front lawn and was the easiest choice.

Oxford Police Department Now in Charge of the Ole Miss Depth Chart

Despite his hopes that the Ole Miss quarterback competition could last until three minutes before kickoff of the BYU game, where it would eventually be decided by a best of nine, three-way, one potato-two potato showdown, Houston Nutt's decision got a little easier thanks to Randall Mackey's decision to irritate a member of OPD enough that he needed to be arrested.  To be fair, it doesn't take much to achieve arrestable irritation in the eyes of most of those officers, but it also means that Mackey cranked up the dumbassery and either didn't shut up or do what he was told.

When a fight breaks out on the Square or in a bar in Oxford, OPD swarms in like the Gestapo when they got the news that house over there is full of Polish Jews.  There's lots of excited yelling and screaming at people to get back, followed by the grabbing/tackling/arresting of those involved in the fight.  Now, the good part is when friends of the arrested start trying to defend their moron friend by verbally berating the police.  This tactic ALWAYS leads to someone else getting arrested. 

"He didn't do anything!  He didn't do anything!  Why are you doing this?!?!?  Leave him alone!"

"Sir, please step back."

"But why are you doing this to him?"

"Sir, I'm not going to ask you again.  Step back."

"This is bullshit!  And so are you!"

"Take him down."

(dogpile of officers on idiot friend)

The lesson here, friends, is when a police officer's adrenaline is spiking near 800% above normal levels, do what he says, keep your mouth shut, and give him plenty of room to take care of the people he's most angry with at the moment.  Don't make yourself a target of that anger and adrenaline.  As with all things, it generally boils down to not being a moron.

Obviously, I have no idea what happened with Mackey other than he was arrested and I'm sure he'll be punished with a not fun physical challenge of sorts.  But, while I was strong supporter of Mackey being named the starter, as I believe in putting your most explosive, highest ceiling level guy out there when no one is really standing out among the choices, this narrows Houston Nutt's options, which is a FANTASTIC thing.  Nutt only needs to see A or B as his listed choices.  Throw in a C, and somehow he'll create options C through WW and inexplicably start small fires throughout the football complex, while drawing plays that call for Enrique Davis to play quarterback.

11 Days

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you put on a clinic of stage moves for lead singers.  Notice at the 50-second mark, the guitar and bass players are involved in some sort of synchronized swaying, which is completely straight out of a box and doesn't bring the energy needed for a proper Europe show.  The lead singer blows that boredom to pieces with his freewheeling style, which mainly centers around his liberal use of the microphone and microphone stand waving.  It's like he treats it like a paddle while standing in a canoe.  Europe shows would have been awesome.  Well, until this song was over, then I'd probably leave after two or three more songs because no one, not even the band, knows to two or three more Europe songs.

#11 in the countdown:  Mississippi State

Cameron Poe
After yesterday's take on the Vandy trip, everyone probably thinks I am a negative nelly.  That would be an accurate assumption about my outlook on most areas of life, but I have generally positive things to say about trips to the other SEC schools.  In fact, I would recommend a trip to all SEC schools not named Vandy.

That first paragraph was probably the nicest thing anyone has written about a trip to Starkville.  I know it was an indirect compliment, but lumping Starkville in with the other SEC destinations means State is making progress.

Instead of talking about my 2 trips to Starkville, I would like to take time to remember one of my favorite MSU bulldogs.  Outside of Coach O, no coach's stubbornness and stupidity has entertained me more than a certain Churchill scholar/head football coach by the name of Sylvester Croom.  If you don't think fall weekends were better with the "Crooked Hat" roaming the sidelines, then you are BLIND!

Peter Venkman
Watched Ole Miss lose a couple basketball games there, however, my favorite memory of Stark-Vegas would have to be the time I caught a sold-out Widespread Panic show at “The Hump.”  During intermission, I stumbled upon my next-door neighbor from Oxford’s luxurious Sterling University Terrace Apartments.

She was probably the least attractive member of the varsity cheerleading squad, and I reasoned that asking her out on a date would reveal my sensitive side, thus leading to subsequent dates with more attractive members of the squad.  Long story short, she stood me up a week later, which allowed me to leave a guilt-free upper-decker in her toilet during their next late-nite.

I hate going to Starkville for several reasons, with the main one being it usually involves watching at least one awful team drag the other mediocre team down to its level.  2003 is the only memory I have of a far superior team having its way with the underdog, and only a driving rain kept Ole Miss from beating State 56-0 in what would be Jackie Sherril's last game (31-0 was the final; that just reminded me of the weather, which is always, ALWAYS horrible for the Egg Bowl; it's either cold and cloudy or sunny and cold with a 20 mph wind straight out of the north, no exceptions).

So going into this game, you know you're going to be miserable at the sight of what is an alleged game of football.  If you win, you can't really enjoy it because you were so tense the entire time, both from the closeness of the game and general disgust with what you are watching, and if you lose, GOD HELP YOU.  Within seven seconds of the final second ticking off the clock, an asshole will be ringing a cowbell in your direction, occasionally in your face, yelling something about "Old Piss" and "sucking sons a bitches."

Why thank you for that point of order, Mr. Mossy Oak.  I wasn't aware my team sucked until just now, right when you informed me.  No, somehow I failed to pick up on that over the past three and a half hours as I watched them stumble around like a fratty red pant-wearer in the Grove after seven hours with some Old Charter.  Your reinforcement gave me something I sorely lacked.  IF ONLY YOU HAD BEEN THERE IN SEPTEMBER.  Could have saved myself three months worth of grief.  Thank you, kind soul.

I should note that I once ate at the newly renovated/rebuilt Taco Bell in Starkville right after Hurricane Katrina (I was there doing laundry at a friend's house before a wedding weekend in West Point, as there was no power in Jackson) and it was DELICIOUS.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Playmaker Will Take Seven and a Half Dozen of Those Shirts, Thank You Very Much

I think this is what Michael Irvin wished he had come up with instead of calling currently jailed Miami booster Nevin Shapiro a "snake" and a "rapist" last week. Not because he's sorry he said those things, but that in his mind these are the types of things with which he should be creating. After all, this is the man who once STABBED a Cowboys teammate IN THE NECK with a pair scissors because he wouldn't get out of the barber's chair to let Irvin get his hair cut first.

Everett McIver
Punk Ass Bitches
Get Stitches
For Sittin'
When I'm Ready to Get a Number One with Ridges

The good news for all the non-front-runner Miami fans, which at roll call last week numbered 87 strong, the t-shirt above can be yours for the uneconomical and nonsensical price of $29.99*.

*Price does not include pair of scissors to use to stab someone for mildly inconveniencing you.

12 Days

Unlike the "Final Countdown," we know what to what we are counting down. Just 12 days from now, the majority of college football teams will begin the three to four month (depending on their success or lack of) journey that will challenge the mental and physical strength of all involved, especially the fans of the sport. I don't know if I'm ever fully mentally and physically prepared to endure this yearly quest, but I know for damn sure I'm willing to accept being pushed to the brink of losing my functioning member of society status if it means I don't have to keep reading the phrases "getting better" and "quarterback competition" or all uses and forms of the word "compete."

To put a theme to this countdown, after all, a countdown isn't really a countdown if there is no theme, we (myself and the newest editions around here) begin our rankings of our favorite places to attend games in the SEC, starting with number 12. These rankings draw heavily on personal experiences rather than the standard YOU CAN'T BEAT THE GROVE. THEY HAVE CHANDELIERS AND FINE CHINA, YOU KNOW. AT A FOOTBALL GAME. HAHAHA. ONLY IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL.

How we determined our rankings was a simple matter of don't ask us questions, just sit back and enjoy the show. First, up: Vanderbilt, which was a unanimous decision.

Peter Venkman
Each and every time I go to Nashville I end up paying $25 for a club sandwich and a coke at someplace a friend has dubbed “a cool little place to catch lunch; everybody goes there!” As far as I’m concerned, the only things people should catch are fish and chlamydia.

Cameron Poe
"I hate myself for coming here." You will utter those six words sometime in the middle of the second quarter if you ever attend a game at Vanderbilt Stadium. It will probably occur after your team has its fourth three and out of the first half and you hear the PA system imploring a few thousand Vandy fans to "SHOW YOUR GOLD."

There is nothing remotely entertaining or pleasurable about a game at Vandy. The stadium stinks, the atmosphere is bleak, you will likely get a sunburn because there is a 99% chance the game will start at noon, and your team will play like shit. I pretty sure that deep in the bowels of the SEC rule book there is a rule that states that all visiting teams must play like shit when they come to Vandy. Go look if you don't believe me. It's right before the rule that says you are still eligible to play even though your father admitted that your quarterbacking services were for sale for 200k (ed:  "But for you, Dan Mullen, we can let it go for a cool $180K!").

It does not matter how well your team was playing prior to the trip to Music City USA, they will have a penalty-filled, turnover-strewn afternoon. I challenge anyone to direct me to a well played game of football at Vanderbilt Stadium. I bet even the Oilers' games sucked when they played there for a season.

I am now going to get drunk because this post brought up long repressed memories of horrible afternoons at the shitbox called Vanderbilt Stadium.

"But, Gray, Nashville is such a great city! That's worth the road trip alone!" WRONG. Nashville is a good place and fun to visit, but it would have to be the greatest city on the entirety of God's green earth to make up for what you have to go through on Saturday:  an 11:30 AM kickoff combined with heat, humidity, and horrendous football. That last point I cannot stress enough. HORRENDOUS FOOTBALL. I'm sure that the play is made horrendous is mainly attributable to watching Ole Miss bumble around as the only team in the SEC that can't put Vanderbilt away easily, but I cannot recall a game in Vanderbilt Stadium in which a superior opposing team went in and skulldrug Vandy around like it should have.

"But, Gray, what about Saturday night? That's always a good time!" EVEN MORE WRONG. Assuming your team held on to win, you're still angry because you spent four hours (JP game time length) baking in the sun, now the proud owner of a vicious sunburn, and making yourself terribly dehydrated all in the name of supporting a team you never chose to support, but were programmed to support before your brain recognized what a horrible mistake you were making.

So, yeah, even if you do overcome your physical and mental ailments and make it out on Saturday night, you will find yourself praying for the sweet release of death while standing in a crowded bar, waiting to get overcharged for your drink of choice, surrounded by a bunch of your school's fans you don't really like. I hate going to Vanderbilt.

Meet and Greet

It's only fitting that we start this show well behind schedule, which is actually on schedule for the way this operation runs and will continue to run.  As promised on Friday, it's time to introduce the two new additions to the Belly of the Beast writing staff. These two have much to live up to after the quality hard work all of those Chinese children gave this site (I shall miss those children). For reasons that make sense to them, they have chosen to use pseudonyms and will write under those (though, I was disappointed they did not choose Chinese gymnasts names). Not even I know their true identities. Just kidding. I totally know.

Peter Venkman
I played basketball at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi. This school is commonly referred to as the “Harvard of The South” (by me alone). I graduated from The University of Mississippi then promptly rewarded myself for this grand feat by taking 3 victory laps in Oxford. My father refers to these years as the “lost episodes.” Now, I divide my time between putting the hand in handsome, writing for this website and playing competitive tennis - there truly is nothing more gratifying than breaking another man down. Conan the Barbarian said it best when he was asked, “What is best in life”: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.”

Cameron Poe
"I'm bringing my talents to the Belly of the Beast."  That's what I told the publisher of the Beast after I turned down a multiyear offer to write for the Worldwide Leader and decided to come to this site for free.  It was probably the greatest phone call he will receive in his whole life.  

In an effort of full disclosure, I will let you know that I am an Alabama fan.  My world view definitely has a crimson tinge, but I have also watched over 10,000 hours of SEC games, so, according to Malcolm Gladwell, I'm an expert on the SEC.  At the very least, I know at least as much as Dave Rowe ever did, and he was allowed to be the analyst on the JP SEC Game of the Week for over 10 years.

Actually, I don't know why I am listing my qualification to write for this site.  I am only doing this because I am narcissist and blogging is a great narcissistic exercise.  My important thoughts on things like whether you should take the over or under on the Mississippi State/Memphis game must published because they are too important to keep trapped in my brain.  So do yourself a favor and read my posts.  I guarantee that they will be compelling and rich.

If the Belly of the Beast had a secret handshake (and maybe we do; you'll never know), it would be exchanged right here.  Welcome aboard, grunts.  Now go freshen up this Diet Coke.

Friday, August 19, 2011

If I Had an Air Horn That You Could Hear, I'd Blast It for 10 Seconds Before Making This Announcement

On Monday, just 10 short days away from the start of college football season, and 12 days from the start of SEC play, a few changes are in order around here.  First, my team of writers and researchers, mostly composed of small Chinese children chained to notepads (computers and typewriters are expensive; plus, I got a great deal on a lease for a fax machine) is being freed from their duties here.  Sorry, but they'll have to make do with only working two jobs instead of three.

Second, and the reason I bought this air horn, two real, live people will be joining me in writing material for this space.  I'll let them introduced themselves on Monday, but I can assure you that they, like me, are in no way qualified to write about anything (horrible movies excluded).  By adding some additional writers (a loose use of the word, I know), I hope to increase the amount of content you'll find here each day, which will hopefully bring you back several times a day as you distract yourself from whatever it is you should be doing.  And maybe this will also stop you from saying, "Ugh, I know that lazy ass Gray hasn't written anything new.  Why bother even checking."  (HOW DARE YOU.  BUT IT'S TRUE.)

So anyway, there's all of that.  We've got some other things planned as well (the actual execution?  IFFY at best), which, at the very least, will be marginal to decent wastes of your time.  Until Monday, I urge you to stay out of the bars frequented by Jordan Jefferson.

The Last Time Iowa and Iowa State Will Ever Be Mentioned in This Space

Mainly because the game between the two is no longer a game, but more like a crop harvesting contest, as evidenced by the new Cy-Hawk trophy given to the winner.

For we all know, nothing commemorates a victory over a rival (are they actually rivals?  Has Iowa State won enough to justify using that word?) in which both sides beat the hell out of one another for three-plus hours like art of a stereotypical, young American farm family gathered around a basket of corn.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Steve Spurrier and South Carolina Get in the Ring With Snake Stabler

Well, kind of.  Spurrier, via the university, has released a wine label called Spurrier Vineyards, as well as a special edition wine.  Gamecock Garnet will be sold only within the state of South Carolina, and the proceeds will benefit the Steve Spurrier Foundation and the university's golf programs.  And, yes, I agree, listing both beneficiaries is a little redundant since the two are the same thing.

You may recall Snake Stabler releasing his wine label, 12, in the spring, encouraging buyers to "celebrate your success."   So which one of these former SEC quarterbacks has released the superior product?  Or, since I've tasted neither, who spent more time on their product?  I think we probably already know the answer to this.


Who Hired An Art Director
Snake's label does its best to shake the stink of Foley and his DUI arrests off the product by using a black and white photo of a pleased and reflective Snake, showing off a championship ring and the wine. While a tad dramatic for a $12 bottle of wine, it appears some thought went into the process.

As for Spurrier's label, I think the creative process went something like this:

"Hey, Coach, wanted to get a picture of you for the wine label."

"The what?"
(stops swinging pitching wedge in mid-swing)

"The wine label, you know, Spurrier Vineyards. We're selling it for the golf team and your foundation."

"Oh, right.  That wine stuff.  Yeah, I'm kinda busy right now.  Trying to figure out what I'm doing with my wrists here."

"Coach, this will only take a second."

"Hey, while you're standing there, watch my wrists here.  I think they're breaking a little too early."
"See what I mean.  It feels too early."

"Uh, right.  Anyway, gotta run, Coach.  Thanks."

"You bet."

Student worker returns to computer lab.

"Did you get the shot?"

"No, he was working on his swing."

"Oh, man.  Yeah, no chance you were going to get that."

"Maybe we can just Google an image of him."

"Good idea.  Let's try not to get one of him looking angry or disappointed."

"Might take a while."


Wine Label Name
Snake chose to use his number from his days at Alabama and in the NFL, which is a simple way to remind people of his past achievements without saying specifically look what Snake Stabler did. Spurrier chose a different path, a path that probably went something like this:

"Coach, where are you? We're supposed to be going over some wine names?"

"The what?"

"Wine names, you know, for the golf team and your foundation."

"Right, the wine stuff. Yeah, I don't know about...hey, one second...I'll have to call you back. We're making the turn and I need to get a snack."

"Coach, we need to talk names."

"Yeah, yeah, okay, fine. Just say something like 'Vineyard' and, oh, I don't know...what about my name? I think that works. Vineyard Spurrier. Kinda like that."

"What about Spurrier Vineyards?"



Let's put it this way, do you want to drink a wine from a guy who doesn't drink or a guy who has been boozing since he learned that if he used both tiny hands he could steadily hold a bottle?


So there you have it, by a final score of 3-0, Snake Stabler defeats Steve Spurrier in a battle of wine labels. We know how Snake will be celebrating his success, but someone with the South Carolina athletic department should call Spurrier on the back nine and let him know of his loss.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Addressing the Miami Scandal With The Playmaker Scale

By now, I trust that you've adequately devoured the latest daisy cutter delivered by Yahoo! Sports to a major college football program. And by devoured, I mean read no fewer than nine times because it's the most entertaining thing you'll read this year. Miami players and hookers? Check. Miami players and cash payments? Check. Miami players and lavish favors? Triple check. Miami players and strip clubs? YOU KNOW IT.

The report's details are so over-the-top, not just in the various services provided by booster Nevin Shapiro, but in terms of the number of players involved and Miami's administration's lack of interest that they were burning their own house down, that it's almost something you would see in a movie written by people who don't watch or follow football. You'd be watching and say, "Alright, no one lets players have access to a million dollar yacht and jet skis that they can crash into things. I'd really like if TNT was showing Con Air right now" (and they would be because it's always on TNT). But all of that really did happen.

In order to properly rate the more bold details of the report...wait, hold on. ESPN's Joe Schad has just released an urgent statement concerning college football:

Well, some good news there. So, for those of you who picked up that game five weeks ago and still haven't figured that out, Joe Schad is all over that non-developing story.

Anyway, as I was saying, in order to properly rate the more bold details of the report, we need to bring in one of The U's most experienced members in this field, The Playmaker, Michael Irvin.

We'll be going though some of the individual player page reports (yes, I did say individual players because Yahoo! took the time to organize all of this information into the greatest page currently on the interwebs) and rating some of the alleged activities on a scale of One to Five Playmakers, with Five Playmakers being the most Michael Irvin action in which a player could participate.

Frank Gore
-Several lunches

-$20,000 to $30,000 cash from Shapiro's partner

And that, Ole Miss fans, is one of a few reasons why Gore changed his mind on signing day some years ago

Jacory Harris
-Food, drinks, and entertainment at Shapiro's mansion

-Pool tournaments for cash at Shapiro's home

James Bryant
-Several small cash gifts

Graig Cooper
-Lived on Shapiro's yacht for four days

Robert Marve
-Drinks and VIP access at three strip clubs

-At least two dinners at a steakhouse

Kellen Winslow, Jr.
-Drinks and VIP access in nightclubs

-Use of yacht and jet skis; crashing jet ski into another boat (should have seen that motorcycle wreck coming)

Devin Hester
-Repeated cash gifts

-Cash to buy rims for SUV

-$3,000 for an engagement ring

The Playmaker only shops at jewelry stores that require you to pay $3,000 just to get in the door.

-Tickets to Heat/Pistons playoff game

Loses half a Playmaker because he also proposed at the game, which is always, ALWAYS a terrible idea.

-Suit, shoes, and other clothing

-$7,500 in game bounties, ranging from touchdowns to celebration penalties

Antrel Rolle
-$7,500 watch

-Transportation to and from strip clubs and nightclubs by Shapiro's bodyguards

Sean Taylor
-$15,000 diamond-studded dog tags

Vince Wilfork
-$50,00 cash payment

-$1,500 washer and dryer

Willis McGahee
-Plane tickets to New York for girlfriend and another female

Probably the most Playmaker thing ever.