By David Schoenfield
Page 2

Day Seven ...

It's the one-week mark. I'm still sticking to my pledge to you: nothing but pigskin, salsa and a daily column.

No vacations to my ranch. No secretly watching Shaq's debut with the Heat. No flipping over to ESPN Classic to watch the "SportsCentury" bio on Adrian Peterson. My proof? I can list every commercial from Wednesday night's game between South Florida and Alabama-Birmingham.

More on that later. First, big applause from the couch for Sean McDonough and Craig James, who aced the USF-UAB game, helping make what could have been a ho-hum Conference USA matchup into an entertaining contest. Announcers rarely raise the level of game, but these two kept me informed about two teams I knew nothing about and threw in some humor (something, I'm learning, that is sorely lacking in football broadcasts).

McDonough pulled out what will surely be the best line of this 19-day marathon. After sideline reporter Heather Cox did a nice bit on how a coach and teammate give UAB quarterback Darrell Hackney a lucky penny and quarter, which he then keeps in his football pants, McDonough said to James, the former SMU star running back, "Things haven't changed much in college football since you played. People used to give you money, too."

If you don't understand the genius behind that quip, try a Google search for "SMU" and "death penalty."

Wednesday Scorecard
Food consumed: Dinner was a variation of French onion soup, prepared once again by Mrs. Couch Potato. Delicious. Dessert was chips and salsa.

Diet sodas: 2

Salsa: Newman's Own, peach flavored. Is this what those Hollywood types eat? They can't eat regular salsa like the rest of us? They probably have some special, no-carb, no-fat, organic chips as well. Heck, they probably don't even eat the chips. Get stuck in their teeth and all. Three stars out of four.

Time spent blowing leaves before game: 90 minutes.

Mental state of mind: Better than John Kerry's. Seriously, I'm hanging in there. Mrs. Potato is putting up with my football fix so far. Still, 12 more games does seem like a lot. What do the pros say? One game at a time.

Stat of the night: UAB had 649 yards and no turnovers in their game -- and still lost.

Debate of the night: Does Utah deserve a BCS berth if the Utes win out? The studio guys also debated the issue at halftime.

Prediction of the night: James said USF's Andre Hall is ready to break a long run against UAB's struggling defense. Moments later, he broke a couple of tackles and went for a 38-yard TD and a 38-20 lead.

When a downpour started in the second quarter, the cameras showed the drenched cheerleaders for one of the teams, and McDonough cracked, "So you wanna be a cheerleader?" Later, when the rain stopped and the cheerleaders removed their rain gear: "We're all thankful for that."

Right before halftime, James was talking about why the soft demands of Utah's conference schedule should have the Utes ranked somewhere below their current lofty No. 6 in the BCS poll. And McDonough suggested, "You know what kind of polls are bad? Exit polls." Classic.

Just a great game for McDonough. And the game on the field turned interesting as well. UAB is looking to make a bowl game and needed the win, especially after losing 59-55 to Tulane last week to drop to 5-2. With USF coming off three straight losses and Hackney leading an offense scoring 36 points per game, it looked like a sure win, once UAB started the second half by driving 80 yards to take a 20-10 lead.

But USF scored 28 points in the fourth quarter, and pulled away 45-20. James didn't shy away from criticizing a UAB defense that gave up 275 rushing yard to Andre Hall, calling it a "bad effort" and suggesting they just gave up at the end.

OK, the commercials ...

I thought it would be fun to track every commercial for at least one game. There were ... pause ... pause some more ... 95 (!) during the game. True, many of these were 15-second spots, and 11 were "house" ads for ESPN The Magazine or "Dream Job" or other ESPN properties. But I was shocked at the total. We never actually notice how many commercials we see (or don't see) during a football game.

Near the end, I was really rooting to hit the 100-ad mark.

Some highlights:

  • There were 11 vehicle ads, of which eight were for SUVs and one for a full-size truck.

  • There were six fast-food commercials, but only one soft-drink ad.

  • There were as many commercials featuring Alexander the Great (three) as athletes (a LeBron Nike ad, Shaq's Icy Hot Sleeve and Lance Armstrong for Bristol-Myers Squibb).

  • Four commercials featured women in bikinis, including the movie "After the Sunset," which stars a ravishing Salma Hayek.

    FOOTBALL IN AMERICA
  • Football In America Index
  • Forde: Day 7: Fading field
  • Day 7 Postcard
  • Schoenfield: Livin' La Vida Sofa
  • Forde: Why we love football
  • There were two Viagra ads ("Remember that guy ... ") and one Cialis ad ("Erections lasting longer than four hours may require medical attention"). These were shown right after Salma Hayek.

  • Much to my pleasure, there was even one ad for chips and salsa!

    Anyway, according to the commercials, this is who we football fans are:

    We drive an SUV (but need insurance), eat fast food or at Applebee's, need a loan and maybe a job, watch movies or the History Channel if there is no football game on, and have high cholesterol (hmm, probably from the fast food), dandruff and perhaps sexual dysfunction.

    But at least we use deodorant.

    Final game rating: Four potatoes, thanks to McDonough's great lines.




    E-mails of the Day
    If you get bored between football games, you can check out this slightly disturbing Web site concerning salsa and Leonard Nimoy!

    Leonard Nimoy Should Eat More Salsa Foundation

    And make sure to watch Texas A&M take down the Sooners on Saturday!
    -- Amber

    [speechless]

    With as much flipping as you were doing Tuesday night, I certainly hope you are icing the wrist to avoid carpal tunnel. With the rising costs of health care in America, we can do without a workman's compensation case from an ESPN couch tater. And the next time you're flipping on Tuesdays, check out the competition on "Dream Job." This might be the best reality/game show combo since ... ever!
    -- Carter

    Wait, aren't you the producer of "Dream Job"?

    David Schoenfield is an editor for Page 2 in his day job. He can be reached at davidschoenfield@yahoo.com.




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