This week's hangover is brought to you by Buzzerkeley Belgian Strong Ale, by Calicraft Brewing Company, Walnut Creek, CA. Because misery loves company.
Let's talk about music. One: I do not care for the Darius Rucker version of Wagon Wheel. Yes, I know it's au courant, and yes Hootie and the Blowfish was my era at Vanderbilt, but they took a classic string music twanger by Old Crow Medicine Show and turned it into a two-four drum machine over processed Nashville bro-country track and I DO NOT LIKE IT SIR. Two: stop with the Sandstorm. Forever. We wouldn't play "Blue Moon of Kentucky" or "The Arkansas Traveler" or that song of Hank Jr's about how Florida girls don't wear underwear (citation needed) so why the hell are we all the time playing techno drivel that's synonymous with Steve Spurrier's team? And third: I'm kind of over Crazy Train. None of our players or students were ALIVE when that song came out. Classic rock is so 1986. If you have to have Crazy Train, get the band to play it or something.
OH WHO THE HELL AM I TRYING TO KID WE BEAT A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION TEAM BY ONE LOUSY POINT AT HOME BECAUSE OF A WACKADOO TWO POINT CONVERSION THIS IS THE STUPIDEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE GODFORSAKEN LIFE.
Seriously. We caught a penalty that killed a first down conversion because our head coach couldn't resist running out on the field to yell at the ref. Yes, the officiating was stupid and killed us all game but HELLO, that's what officiating DOES to us, DON'T UNDERCUT THE TEAM BY SHOWING YOUR ASS. Proof - like any was needed at this point - that Derek Mason is the one in the deep water as a head coach. Not even counting the "oh we need to get the ball to Sims and Sherfield five times each" and then getting one carry and one pass in the flat to Sims. IF YOU NEED TO GET THE BALL TO THESE GUYS, THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD SPEAK TO SOMEONE WHO CAN WORK ON MAKING THAT HAPPEN LIKE, OH, THE HEAD COACH.
And then there's McCrary. I don't know what the hell was going on at practice that it was decided that burning Freebeck's redshirt was a better option than giving McCrary a FOURTH passing attempt on the season in the ensuing FIVE GAMES, but then lo and behold, here he comes on a 10 yards per attempt clip. Yes there was a deep pick but there was also a deep touchdown, and it looks like he CAN make the throws downfield...so what the entire hell is going on when you'll ride Rivers into the ground before taking another shot with McCrary?
And let's go back to that first point: FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION. THIS IS A I-AA TEAM AND THEY HELD US SCORELESS THE ENTIRE SECOND HALF. WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO RUN THE BALL LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN AND SIMPLY WEAR THEM INTO SUBMISSION AND WE COULD NOT OR DID NOT. EITHER WAY THIS IS ASININE AND RISIBLE IN THE EXTREME.
(speaking of SAT words, did that play by play donk actually say we had "two times out" remaining? Is William Safire doing ESPN3 streaming coverage now?)
I don't think I'd pieced it together that we'd allowed a touchdown in the final minute of the half in four out of six games (now five out of seven) but it sure explains a lot when you can't get off the field in one piece. The only bright side - the ONLY one - is that with 40 seconds left, McCrary was able to piece together a little offense and line up a field goal attempt that Openshaw converted to stop the bleeding a little. That's the kind of thing that you can see paying off in weeks and maybe years to come.
But right now, I'm just sick to death of it. We have Webb and Rivers running like the Norman & Stacy Show of old, and we go 0-3 passing for a three-and-out drive. At this point, I'd gladly swap coaching staffs with Charleston Southern because they clearly know what to do with a running game and a physical, mobile QB. Hell, the Bucs were apparently missing their big back and STILL out-rushed us 199-106. Oh - we also out-passed them by one yard. ONE. We were outgained on offense 389-295, they converted exactly as many 3rd and 4th downs as we did (four, if you're counting), they had 19 first downs to our 11 and the same number of penalties and turnovers, and their penalties went for less yardage.
Aside from the blocked punt, the kicking game wasn't too bad. Cooke had a shank or two but a massive boomer, and Openshaw hit all his tries, so that's nice. Look, I'm trying to find nice things to say, and WE BEAT A BIG SOUTH TEAM AT HOME BY ONE POINT, THIS IS THE LEAST YOU CAN WIN A GAME AND STILL CALL IT A WIN.
This year's a shredder. I'm trying to calculate how we don't get boat-raced by Tennessee and have to carry that taste in our mouth through eight months of offseason and a recruiting class that sounds like it might fit in a rental van from the airport. I'm trying to hope that thirty-one sophomores are better than thirty-one freshmen. I'm trying to believe that at some point they'll be able to play an entire game with an effective quarterback and resist the urge to play Pin The Tail On The Horse's Ass Calling The Plays.
But I felt better about the South Carolina loss than I do about this win. Had we played like this and gotten the W against Missouri or Florida, I'd feel a lot different. If we'd gotten this against CLANGA or the Vols, I'd be over the moon. But this is the easiest touch left on our schedule, and we got beat in everything but the final score.
I'm going back to the liquor cabinet. And failing that, the garage. Maybe we have some industrial solvents left.