DJ Gallo's Varsity Tailgate, Week 7
It's Week 7 of the college football season, and the weather is getting cold. This week's edition of the Tailgate is already chilled and waiting.
Game of the Week
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 20 Oklahoma -- Noon ET on ABC
This is still a big game. But not as big as we might have expected at the beginning of the season. Oklahoma is out of the national title picture, and the epic rivalry is tainted by this disgusting friendship between Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford. They're even playing table tennis against each other on "College GameDay." Gross. Where's the hatred? This isn't a rivalry. This is is mutual respect. I'm going to be sick. Our only hope is that one of them has been faking the friendship the whole time to become close to the other, learn his weaknesses and then crush him on national television. My bet is on the one with the history of wearing disguises.
One More Game of the Week
No. 6 USC at No. 25 Notre Dame -- 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Charlie Weis on his players: "They understand the talent level of who they're going against, but I'd say this is probably the first time since I've been here where the players really believe they're going to win. They might be in the minority but they certainly believe that." This is the first time his players have believed they can beat USC? Weis has his strengths as a coach, but "Win one for the Gipper!"-style motivational speeches are apparently not one of them.
A possible sample of Weis' pregame speeches, 2005-08:
"We can beat USC! Believe it! Yeah, none of you are buying this, are you? Well, just go out there and try not to get hurt. There's always next year."
Cupcake of the Week
No. 9 Miami played Florida A&M last week, and now it takes on Central Florida. But the Knights aren't as bad as some teams I've had in this spot this season. I'm not going to lie to you. I'm not George O'Leary.
Cupcake Recipe of the Week
Fudge. The official dessert of George O'Leary.
Rivalry Game of the Week
Too many to list just one
Of course there's the Red River Rivalry. And USC-Notre Dame. And Cal-UCLA, Marshall-West Virginia, Central Michigan-Western Michigan, Virginia-Maryland, Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech and Michigan-Delaware State.
Whoops. That last one was supposed to be up with the cupcakes. Sorry. I doubt Rich Rodriguez will even count playing Delaware State as official football time for his players. Nor should he.
Heisman Candidate in the Crosshairs
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford suffered injuries. Colt McCoy hasn't put up big numbers. Case Keenum's candidacy has no momentum. Even Tony Pike is hurt now. This could be Clausen's award to lose. Especially if many other deserving players continue to insist on playing a position other than quarterback.
Tim Tebow Fact of the Week
Tim Tebow was born Aug. 14, 1987. Also on Aug. 14, 1987, The New York Times reported that the White House would seek more military aid for the contras in Central America if peace talks continued to falter. Was Tebow bred by the Defense Department to be a one-man battalion, a cyborg so powerful and destructive that all nations would fear it, even as they test it on the field of play? Umm, yeah, I think so.
Mascot Fact of the Week
Tommy Trojan, the drum major of the USC marching band, has a goatee. And some people don't care for that, feeling facial hair does not fit the image of a Trojan soldier. In fact, the fate of the goatee is being put to a vote. Everyone just needs to relax. Facial hair on a drum major is nothing to panic about. (In fact, it's actually something to celebrate. Many drum majors struggle to grow facial hair.) If the USC Song Girls start growing goatees, then we have a major crisis.
Tailgate Tip of the Week
Bring rain gear: If my multicolored USA Today map is correct, much of the eastern half of the country is in for rain. (Assuming I'm not looking at the terror alert map, in which case, the people of the Southwest might want to find a bunker. Fast.) Anyway, if it might rain at your tailgate, bring a poncho or raincoat. (Do not bring an umbrella unless you want to get beaten with it, dork.) Because if you're going to be standing outside in the cold rain all day drinking, you'll want to stay as dry as possible so you don't get pneumonia. Pneumonia is soooooo 2007. All the cool kids get swine flu now.
Quote of the Week
"Everyone is really looking forward to this game. I just got done talking to the team. I said, 'Saturday night, fellas, you're going to be the lead story in the country one way or the other. You're gonna be. You're gonna be the lead story. So which lead story do you want to be?"
-- Charlie Weis, Notre Dame coach
I don't know, Charlie. You might have a strategic advantage when it comes to coaching, but I think I know the media better. Don't forget that Texas and Oklahoma also are playing. And the Yankees are playing in the American League Championship Series. And any number of other stories could break. In fact, here's my prediction for Saturday night lead stories, listed from most likely to least likely:
2. USC beats Notre Dame
4. Breaking news
5. Charlie Weis is taken on a ride through the Indiana skies by a weather balloon with 45 pounds of lift
6. Notre Dame beats USC
Stat of the Week
0-17: No. 19 Georgia Tech welcomes No. 4 Virginia Tech to Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Yellow Jackets have lost 17 in a row at home versus opponents in the top five, dating back to 1962. You'd think Georgia Tech would be able to find an engineer who could construct some sort of home-field advantage. (Nerd ZING!)
Charlie Weis Hot Seat Temperature
Stable: Much will be known about Charlie Weis' future after this game. Two of the three potential options are positive for him. Option 1: Get crushed again, possibly lose his job. Option 2: Win, keep his job! Best of all, Option 3: Lose narrowly, get a 10-year extension!
Lane Kiffin NCAA Violation of the Week
Blatant cheating: He's back! Kiffin clearly put someone else in Jonathan Crompton's uniform last week. Was it Peyton Manning? Probably. That guy will do anything for a few bucks.
Worst Game of the Week
Florida Atlantic at North Texas
These teams are a combined 1-8. But things are looking up. After this game, they'll be a combined 2-9! That's .500 football over their past two!
Name of the Week
T-Bob Hebert, LSU: LSU has two players with the last name Hebert. One is T-Bob. The other is Trent. Can you guess which one is the center and which is the kicker?
Stone Cold Lock of the Week
No. 2 Alabama plays host to No. 22 South Carolina this week. Both coaches run fine programs. But the winner will not receive any interest from the NFL.
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.