Commentary

DJ Gallo's Varsity Tailgate, Week 2

Originally Published: September 11, 2009
By DJ Gallo | Page 2

Week 2 of the college football season is upon us.

So it's time again for Page 2's new weekly feature, Varsity Tailgate. Try to pace yourself.


    

Game of the Week

No. 3 USC at No. 8 Ohio State -- 8 p.m. ET on ESPN


Everyone knows how bad Ohio State has been in big nonconference games in recent years. Yet, when asked about the perception that the Buckeyes struggle in big games, coach Jim Tressel had this to say: "It's fair because it's a fact." Ohhhhhhhhh … umm, self-snap? Perhaps this almost shocking level of reason and self-awareness from Tressel is his flaw as a coach. How does this characteristic manifest itself in a pregame speech? "Gentlemen, this is a BIG GAME! THE GAME OF YOUR LIVES! Let's go out there and give it our ALL! Of course, if you don't win, your friends and family still will love you, and you will retain your scholarship, which is really the most important thing, as education is imperative to success in life. Now let's take the field!"


    

One More Game of the Week

No. 18 Notre Dame at Michigan -- 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC


You know you'll watch. It doesn't matter how bad these teams might or might not be. It's Notre Dame-Michigan. You'll watch. Their potential badness is part of the reason you'll watch. And the name of the feeling you'll have inside? It's "hathos." I find hathos pairs nicely with chips and dip.



Cupcake of the Week


Troy: Coming off a 31-14 opening-week loss at Bowling Green -- yes, Bowling Green -- Troy has to travel to Gainesville to face No. 1 Florida. The only previous time Troy met Florida, in 2007, the Gators took a 49-7 lead into halftime and went on to win 59-31. What else do I know about Troy? Let's see … Troy is a university in Alabama and not that kid named Troy you kind of knew in high school. But chances are Florida is unaware of this fact. I doubt the Gators would have scheduled Troy had they known it was more than just one guy. Multiple opponents? Eleven at a time? What? That's too tough of a nonconference game.


Cupcake Recipe of the Week

Red velvet cupcakes

Sounds delicious. By the way, did you know that gorging on sugary desserts is a common coping mechanism for emotional pain? Unfortunately, sugary desserts do nothing for physical pain. So maybe Troy should eat half the cupcakes at halftime to try to forget the score. Then freeze the rest of the cupcakes to hold against the players' bruises after the game.



Heisman Candidate in the Crosshairs


Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: Don't pretend it's not happening. Sam Bradford's Heisman campaign is over, so the field has opened a bit. And when you lead the nation with a 303.67 passer rating and, more importantly, are the quarterback at Notre Dame, you become a Heisman contender. If Clausen beats Michigan this week, his candidacy will be in full bloom. Then maybe if he wins the Heisman, he can mount it on one of his snazzy rings.



Tim Tebow Fact of the Week


Asked in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine whether there is anything bad about him, Tebow had this to say: "I crack my knuckles a lot." So there you have it. Tebow has a flaw. He is a knuckle cracker. As we all know, cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis, and -- wait? What's this? Cracking your knuckles isn't bad for you at all?! Whew! Tebow is still perfect. The world is saved.



Mascot Fact of the Week


USC's horse mascot, Traveler, attends only home games. Makes sense.


Tailgate Tip of the Week

Bring along a sweatshirt

We're into mid-September. Temperatures can get chilly in the late afternoon and evening. You might think you won't wear a sweatshirt now. You're right. You probably won't. But when you're passed out on the ground, your kinder friends will use your sweatshirt to cover you up. No reason to have a hangover and a cold, right?



Quote of the Week


"Not everybody's the perfect person in the world. I mean, everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I've always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will." -- Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State

An example of a young man just garbling his point when asked about his opinion at a news conference? Probably. Or is it an example of a football genius psyching out his upcoming opponent? Hmm. I know if I were a USC football player, I probably wouldn't want to stick my nose in a pileup with the "Everyone kills people" guy.



Stat of the Week


3: That is the Colonial Athletic Association's number of wins so far this season against Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Last week, William and Mary beat Virginia, Richmond beat Duke and Villanova topped Temple. On Saturday, New Hampshire plays Ball State and James Madison, ranked No. 6 in the Football Championship Subdivision, faces 0-1 Maryland. If the Dukes win, the CAA would run its record to 3-0 this year against its geographical neighbor, the ACC. So the question might not be the one everyone is asking: Why does the ACC still get an automatic BCS bowl bid? Maybe it's: Why doesn't the CAA get one?



Charlie Weis' Hot-Seat Temperature


Room temperature: Say what you will about Weis and his struggles at Notre Dame, but Ty Willingham didn't start his fifth season 1-0 with a win against Nevada. Mainly because he was fired after his third season. But still.



Lane Kiffin NCAA Violation of the Week


None: Again! Wow. That's two weeks in a row! Savor this. Kiffin's Tennessee squad welcomes Rick Neuheisel's UCLA Bruins to Neyland Stadium on Saturday. Will Kiffin be lured into an illegal gambling ring by halftime?

    

Worst Game of the Week

Howard at Rutgers


Rutgers looked atrocious Monday against Cincinnati, and Howard is Howard. Nevertheless, you can watch this game on your computer at ESPN360.com. Just be aware that if you try to watch, you probably will get a few notices from your virus protection program, such as: "It appears you are trying to open a terrible game. Really? Come on. Why are you doing this to yourself? To us? There are, like, 10 other better games on ESPN360 right now. Please don't make me show this one."


Yo Conference Joke of the Week

Yo conference is so weak, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl signed an exclusive, big-money contract with your conference to not feature any of its teams.



Name of the Week


Sir Demarco Bledsoe: An FCS-caliber strong safety at Youngstown State. But a Hall of Fame-caliber name.



Player of the Week


Tate Forcier, QB, Michigan: Notre Dame will provide a truer test, but if last week was any indication, Rich Rodriguez might finally have found himself a quarterback in freshman Tate Forcier. And Forcier's success is all thanks to hard work. He goes above and beyond what the coaching staff asks of him. (Not that the coaching staff would ever ask him to go above and beyond what is required of him. I'm not saying that at all. Really. LEAVE RICH RODRIGUEZ ALONE! Chris Crocker, Rich-Rod needs you!)



One More Player of the Week


Greg Paulus, QB, Syracuse: Sure, he threw that interception in overtime against Minnesota. But Paulus was pretty impressive last week, considering he hadn't played football in almost five years. I remember when I took that much time away from football -- I didn't have a gaming system in college -- and I sucked at Madden for a really long time. Even on rookie level. This week, Paulus plays at Penn State. That's, like, All-Madden level. Tough.



Stone-Cold Lock


After Texas' trip to mustache-friendly Wyoming this week, Colt McCoy will be tempted to grow back his tickler. But, alas, it will be too late. This fresh-faced young lad needs months to grow a lip hat.


DJ Gallo is the founder of and sole writer for the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.

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