As I sat down for my usual end-of-Friday-night routine, I was excited. Usually, my work week concludes with an episode of Star Trek, the original series, and this Friday was to be no different.
I’ve been watching the shows in release order, and I was eager to see another adventure of my Starship Enterprise buddies as I used the remote control to find whichever episode was next in queue. What appeared on my screen, however, threw an immediate wet blanket on my enthusiasm.
Yup, I was faced with watching what is considered by some as the WORST Star Trek episode of all time, for ANY Star Trek series. I couldn’t skip it — to do so would violate the very nature of my clinically diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder. So, I watched it … and my usually enjoyable Friday night routine was obliterated by a terrible fluke of scheduling.
It was a harbinger of what was to come the following day when another quality product would be temporarily bludgeoned by one bad week.
Saturday held the worst slate of college football games in recent history, which echoed my bad scheduling luck from the previous night. Look, on paper, LSU vs. Mississippi State or Washington vs. Michigan State would seem to be solid games. If you’re looking at those two as the absolute showcases of the weekend, though, well, you start expecting some woman in a far-out 1960s space outfit to begin wandering around on your TV, frantically exclaiming, “Brain and brain, what is brain?!”
Saturday’s babbling brook of bullshit scheduling from weak-willed coaches and athletic directors caused this maelstrom of suckage that dominated my TV screen, and frankly I’m unhappy about it. Still, I’m reporting for duty with my weekly CFB Hangover Highlights column, albeit the game action was worthy of a brainless Vulcan:
- Let’s start with the Stillwater stunner. The Oklahoma State Cowboys appeared fully unprepared to take advantage of the week’s theme, instead being royally embarrassed by a “directional school” called South Alabama. The Jaguars from Mobile seemed to channel their more well-to-do cousins from Tuscaloosa, and they completely ran OSU out of its own building;
- At this point, the three-headed quarterback of Mike Gundy’s own making has moved from bemusing to downright embarrassing. After a bungled punt return derailed momentum and left the Cowboys trailing 26-7 in the fourth quarter, I looked at one of the guys here on the Cowenstan National Stadium patio, and said, “It would make all of this extra funny if they went to Garret Rangel now.” Up to that point, Rangel had not played a snap, and it just seemed ridiculous that Gundy would make yet another quarterback switch with the game in desperate straits;
- Rangel trotted out, though, and he finished 1 for 5 passing with only 8 yards through the air and one yard on the ground as OSU failed to score again and fell 33-7 to the Jaguars. The only question was whether he came walking onto the field at ludicrous speed, because that’s obviously the tempo at which his coaching staff was working;
- Ludicrous, ridiculous or just plain dumb: all are adequate descriptors for both parties in the Spencer Sanders and Oklahoma State divorce after last season. With Sanders barely playing at all in his final year of eligibility at Ole Miss, and with Alan Bowman and Gunnar Gundy joining Rangel to create a combined OSU passing stat line of 16 for 35 and 114 yards with one interception, both sides will look back years from now and wonder why it had to be this way. For the fans and football observers, we want to know what went wrong;
- Speaking of things that went wrong for OSU on Saturday, the OSU Athletic Department ticket office sent out a postgame email around 9:30 p.m. that proclaimed, “Cowboys win!” in its subject line. Inside, the email urged recipients to buy tickets to upcoming games and donate to something called “The Excellence Fund,” despite a lack of excellence on the field Saturday;
- Meanwhile, up the road in Tulsa, fans of lopsided matchups had another game to watch. OU raced out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter before Tulsa decided to get spunky;
- The Golden Hurricane (yes, singular) actually cut the game to 38-17 and had the momentum at one point. The Sooners awoke from their mid-game slumber, however, and ultimately took care of an overmatched squad 66-17, pouring on points and forcing turnovers exactly as they should;
- Never tell me teams don’t look at upcoming schedules and yawn. It can be the only explanation for what Alabama, Georgia and Florida State did this weekend.
- Alabama played a snoozefest in a downpour at South Florida, finding itself tied 3-3 late in the third quarter. The Crimson Tide has serious quarterback problems … in a way that hasn’t been seen in Tuscaloosa since before Tyler Watts showed up to take the field against Oklahoma in 2002. Last week, I said they had the equivalent of Dillon Gabriel at quarterback. This week, I’d bet they’d sell their houndstooth-draped souls for Gabriel;
- Georgia, meanwhile, had to rally from a 14-3 hole against erstwhile OU quarterback Spencer Rattler and his South Carolina Gamecocks. Rally the Bulldogs did, however, and other than the early hiccup, they showed no reason not to be the top team in the country;
- File this under how NOT to pull off a major upset: Boston College committed 11 — yes, 11! — penalties in the first half of its game against top-5 Florida State. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise considering all the penalties Boston College racked up in its first two games. In between self-sabotage, though, BC actually gave a spirited effort, leading 10-3 in the second quarter and making a massive comeback at the end of the game. The penalties, however, short circuited too many plays that might have helped the Eagles stave off momentum from the visiting Seminoles, which ended up costing them in a close 31-29 game;
- If Penn State is a top-10 team, I’ll eat my hat. OK, sure, they’re probably a top-25 team, but the Nittany Lions’ offense is just too pedestrian, and they have too average of quarterback play to be a true contender in the Big 10 and on the national stage. An incredibly mediocre and thick-ankled Illinois team pressed them Saturday, which left zero doubt in my mind that the Nittany Lion hoopla is, again, simply a creation of upper-Midwesterners searching for an alternative to the monotonous Michigan/Ohio State championship cycle;
- Speaking of pedestrian offenses, Mississippi State badly misses Mike Leach. A transition from Leach’s brand of Air Raid, where the running game is simply a diversion, was destined to have growing pains. What we’re seeing, though, is an average Mike Leach quarterback in MSU’s Will Rogers being asked to helm something not in his comfort zone. It could make for an ugly season in Starkville;
- Missouri took out its dormant Border War frustrations on the next closest thing, upsetting Kansas State 30-27 on a walk-off 61-yard field goal, which would have only been a 56-yard attempt had his coaching staff not lost track of time for a hilarious delay-of-game penalty with the game on the line. The kicker, Harrison Mevis, has been dubbed the “Thicker Kicker” for his less-than-svelte build … another reason to love college football;
- Colorado also must have made a collective yawn after seeing the team on their schedule. Colorado State has not been notable since Bradlee Van Pelt’s golden locks were flying down the field 20 years ago. The Rams, however, put a major scare into their in-state rival before ultimately succumbing 43-35 in honestly exciting double-overtime drama;
- The Mile High Showdown also marked the 400th game before which ESPN legend Lee Corso has donned a mascot’s headgear to put an exclamation mark on his pick for the big game of the day. The very first time he did it, there was another goofy fella making an appearance on College Gameday during that particular episode in 1996. Fast-forward to the 4:10 mark of the video below if you need proof that I once had hair. It might be more interesting than anything that graced your screen over the last 36 hours.